Friday, October 28, 2011

Bernardo O'Higgins (1778-1842), Chilean Independence Leader

Painting of Bernardo O'Higgins holding the Chilean Constitution, Oil by Gil de Castro (1785-1841)

Lithograph of Bernardo O'Higgins by Narciso Desmadryl (1854)

The ostracism of General Bernardo O'Higgins

Bernardo O'Higgins, erroneously depicted attending the declaration of Chilean independence in 12 February 1818

Bernardo O'Higgins statue in Valparaíso

Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme (Spanish: [berˈnarðo oˈxiɣins]; 1778–1842) was a Chilean independence leader who, together with José de San Martín, freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile (1817–1823), he is considered one of Chile's founding fathers, as he was the first holder of this title to head a fully independent Chilean state. O'Higgins was of Irish and Basque descent.

Bernardo O'Higgins was a member of the O'Higgins family who was born in the Chilean city of Chillán in 1778, the illegitimate son of Ambrosio O'Higgins, 1st Marquis of Osorno, a Spanish officer born in County Sligo, Ireland, who became governor of Chile and later viceroy of Peru. His mother was Isabel Riquelme, a prominent local lady and daughter of Don Simón Riquelme y Goycolea, a member of the Chillán Cabildo, or council.

O'Higgins spent his early years with his mother's family in central-southern Chile, and later he lived with the Albano family, who were his father's commercial partners, in Talca. At age 15, O'Higgins was sent to Lima by his father. He had a distant relationship with Ambrosio, who supported him financially and was concerned with his education, but the two never met in person. It is unclear why Ambrosio did not marry Isabel. High-ranking Spanish government officials in The Americas were forbidden to marry locals, but at the time of O'Higgins' birth, Ambrosio O'Higgins was only a junior military officer. It has been suggested[by whom?] that Isabel's family would not have seen the match as advantageous at the time. Two years later, she married Don Félix Rodríguez, an old friend of her father's. O'Higgins used his mother's surname until the death of his father in 1801.

Ambrosio O'Higgins continued his professional rise and became Viceroy of Peru; at seventeen Bernardo O'Higgins was sent to London to complete his studies. There, studying history and the arts, O'Higgins became acquainted with American ideas of independence and developed a sense of nationalist pride, coming to admire liberalism in the Georgian British model. He also met Francisco de Miranda, a Venezuelan idealist and believer in independence, and joined a Masonic Lodge established by Miranda, dedicated to achieving the independence of Latin America.

In 1798 O'Higgins went to Spain from England, his return to the Americas delayed by the wars[vague] and the British capture of the first ship he sailed with. His father died in 1801, leaving O'Higgins a large piece of land, the Hacienda Las Canteras, near the Chilean city of Los Ángeles. O'Higgins returned to Chile in 1802, adopted his father's surname, and began life as a gentleman farmer. In 1806 O'Higgins was appointed to the cabildo as the representative of Laja. Then, in 1808, Napoleon took control of Spain, triggering a sequence of events in South America. In Chile, the commercial and political elite decided to form an autonomous government to rule in the name of the imprisoned king Ferdinand VII; this was to be one of the first in a number of steps toward national independence, in which O'Higgins would play a leading role.

On September 18, 1810, O'Higgins joined the revolt against the now French dominated Spanish government. The criollo leaders in Chile did not support Joseph Bonaparte's rule in Spain, and a limited self-government under the Government Junta of Chile was created, with the aim of restoring the legitimate Spanish throne. This date is now recognized as Chile's Independence Day. O'Higgins was a close friend of Juan Martínez de Rozas, an old friend of his father, and one of the more radical leaders. O'Higgins strongly recommended that a national congress be created, and was elected a deputy to the first National Congress of Chile in 1811 as a representative of the Laja district. Tensions between the royalist and increasingly pro-independence factions, to which O'Higgins remained attached as a junior member, continued to grow.

The anti-Royalist camp in Chile was deeply split along lines of patronage and personality, by political beliefs, and by geography (between the rival regional groupings of Santiago and Concepción). The Carrera family had already seized power several times in different coups, and supported a specifically Chilean nationalism, as opposed to the broader Latin American focus of the Lautaro Lodge grouping, which included O'Higgins and the Argentinian José de San Martín. José Miguel Carrera, the most prominent member of the Carrera family, enjoyed a power base in Santiago; that of de Rozas, and later O'Higgins, lay in Concepción.

As a result, O'Higgins was to find himself increasingly in political and military competition with Carrera—although early on, O'Higgins was nowhere near as prominent as his later rival. De Rozas initially appointed O'Higgins to a minor military position in 1812, possibly because of his illegitimate origins, poor health, or lack of military training. Much of O'Higgins' early military knowledge stemmed from Juan Mackenna, another immigrant of Irish descent and a former client of Ambrosio's, whose advice centered mainly on the use of cavalry. In 1813, when the Spanish government made its first attempt to reconquer Chile—sending an expedition led by Brigadier Antonio Pareja—Carrera, as a former national leader and now Commander in Chief of the Army, was by far the more prominent figure of the two, and a natural choice to lead the military resistance.

O'Higgins was back on his estates in Laja, having retired from the Army the previous year due to poor health, when news came of the invasion. O'Higgins mobilised his local militia and marched to Concepcion, before moving onto Talca, meeting up with Carrera, who was to take command of the new army. Carrera sent O'Higgins to cut the Spanish off at Linares; O'Higgins' victory there resulted in his promotion to colonel. The unsuccessful Siege of Chillan followed, where O'Higgins produced a brave, but unspectacular, performance; however, as commander, Carrera took most of the blame for the defeat, weakening his prestige with the Junta back in Santiago. O'Higgins continued to campaign against the royalists, fighting with a reckless courage that would make him famous. In October, fighting at the battle of El Roble under Carrera, O'Higgins took effective command at a crucial moment and gave one of his more famous orders:

Lads! Live with honor, or die with glory! He who is brave, follow me!

Despite being injured, O'Higgins went on to pursue the royalist forces from the field. The Junta in Santiago reassigned command of the army from Carrera, who had retreated during the battle, to O'Higgins, who then appointed Juan Mackenna as commandant-general. Carrera was subsequently captured and imprisoned by the royalist forces; in his absence, in May 1814 O'Higgins supported the Treaty of Lircay, which promised a halt to the fighting. Once released, however, Carrera violently opposed both O'Higgins' new role and the treaty, overthrowing the Junta in a coup in July 1814 and immediately exiling Mackenna.

O'Higgins turned to focus on Carrera, and their forces met at the battle of Las Tres Acequias, where Luis Carrera inflicted a modest defeat on O'Higgins. Further conflict was postponed by news that the royalists had decided to ignore the recent treaty, and were threatening Concepción under the leadership of General Mariano Osorio. Carrera and O'Higgins decided to reunite the army and face the common threat. Carrera's plan was to draw the Spaniards to the Angostura del Paine, while O'Higgins preferred the town of Rancagua. They decided to make a stand at the Angostura de Paine, a gorge that formed an easily defended bottleneck. At the last hour, however, O'Higgins instead garrisoned the nationalist forces at the main square of Rancagua. Carrera did not arrive with reinforcements, and O'Higgins and his forces were promptly surrounded in October. After an entire day of fighting at the battle of Rancagua, the Spanish commander, Mariano Osorio, was victorious—but O'Higgins managed to break out with a few of his men, issuing the command:

Those who can ride, ride! We will break through the enemy!

Like Carrera and other nationalists, O'Higgins retreated to Argentina with the survivors, and remained there for three years while the royalists were in control. Mackenna, still a key supporter, was killed by Luis Carrera in a duel in 1818, deepening the ongoing feud. Whilst O'Higgins was undoubtedly a brave soldier, indeed often bordering on the reckless, and an inspirational commander, his qualities as a tactician have been questioned, both by his contemporaries and since.

While in exile, O'Higgins met the Argentinean General José de San Martín, a fellow member of the Lautaro Lodge, and together the men returned to Chile in 1817 to defeat the royalists. Initially the campaign went well, with the two commanders achieving a victory at the battle of Chacabuco. San Martín sent his troops down the mountain starting at midnight of February the 11th to prepare for an attack at dawn. As the attack commenced, his troops were much closer to the Spanish than anticipated, and they fought hard and heroically. Soler's troops had to go down a tiny path that proved long and arduous, and took longer than expected. General O'Higgins, supposedly seeing his homeland and being overcome with passion, defied the plan of attack and charged along with his 1,500 troops. What exactly happened in this part of the battle is fiercely debated. O'Higgins claimed that the Spanish stopped their retreat and started advancing towards his troops. He said that, if he were to lead his men back up the narrow path and retreat, his men would have been massacred one by one. San Martín saw O'Higgins' early advancement, and ordered Soler to charge the Spanish flank, which took the pressure off of O'Higgins and allowed his troops to stand their ground.

The ensuing firefight continued into the afternoon, and the tides turned for the Patriots as Soler captured a key Spanish artillery point. At this point, the Spanish set up a defensive square around the Chacabuco Ranch. O'Higgins charged the center of the Spanish position, and Soler got into place behind the Spanish forces, effectively cutting off any chance of retreat. O'Higgins and his men overwhelmed the Spanish troops, who attempted to retreat, but Soler's men cut off their retreat and pushed towards the ranch. Hand-to-hand combat ensued in and around the ranch, until every Spanish soldier was dead or taken captive. Five hundred Spanish soldiers were killed, and 600 were taken captive. The Patriot forces lost 12 men in the battle, but an additional 120 died of their wounds.

The Second Battle of Cancha Rayada in 1818, however, was a victory for the Royalists, and it was not until the Battle of Maipú that ultimate victory was assured.

San Martín was initially offered the position of power in the newly-free Chile, but he declined, in order to continue the fight for independence in the rest of South America. O'Higgins accepted the position instead, and became the leader of an independent Chile. He was granted dictatorial powers as Supreme Director on February 16, 1817. On February 12, 1818, Chile proclaimed itself an independent republic.

Throughout the war with the royalists, O'Higgins had engaged in an ongoing feud with José Miguel Carrera. After their retreat in 1814, O'Higgins had fared much better than Carrera, who found little support forthcoming from San Martín, O'Higgins' political ally. Carrera was imprisoned to prevent his involvement in Chilean affairs; after his escape, he ended up taking the winning side in the Argentine Federalist war, helping to defeat the pro-San Martin government in 1820. Marching south to attack O'Higgins, now ruler of Chile, Carrera was arrested by supporters of O'Higgins and executed under questionable circumstances in 1821; his two brothers had already been killed by royalist forces in the preceding years, bringing the long-running feud to an end. The argument as to the relative contribution of these two great Chilean independence leaders, however, has continued up to the modern day, and O'Higgins' decision not to intervene to prevent the execution coloured many Chileans' views of his reign.

For six years, O'Higgins was a largely successful leader, and his government initially functioned well. Within Chile, O'Higgins established markets, courts, colleges, libraries, hospitals, and cemeteries, and began important improvements in agriculture. He also undertook various military reforms. He founded the Chilean Military Academy in 1817, aiming to professionalise the officer corps. O'Higgins remained concerned about the threat of invasion, and had declared after the battle of Chacabuco that "this victory and another hundred shall be of no significance if we do not gain control of the sea". Alongside the Military Academy, he founded the modern Chilean Navy under the command of the Scottish officer Lord Cochrane, establishing the First Chilean Navy Squadron, the Academy for Young Midshipmen (the predecessor of the current Naval Academy), and the Chilean Marine Corps. O'Higgins continued in his desire to see independence across Latin America, utilising his new forces to support San Martín, sending the Liberating expedition to Perú.

In time, however, O'Higgins began to alienate important political groupings within the still-fragile Chilean nation. O'Higgins' proposed radical and liberal reforms, such as the establishment of democracy and abolition of titles of nobility, were resisted by the powerful large landowners. He offended the church in Chile early on—in particular, the Bishop of Santiago, Jose Rodriguez Zorrilla. Having offended the aristocracy and the church, he also lost the support of the businesspeople, his last semi-powerful ally within the country. The government became bankrupt, forcing O'Higgins to send Antonio José de Irisarri to England to negotiate a £1 million loan—Chile's first foreign debt—whilst a massive earthquake in central Chile added more difficulty for the ruler. In 1822, O'Higgins established a new "controversial" constitution, which many regarded as a desperate attempt to hang on to power. The deaths of his political enemies, including Carrera and Manuel Rodríguez, returned to haunt him, with some accusing him of abusing state power. The provinces increasingly viewed him as centralising power to an excessive degree.

O'Higgins was deposed by a conservative coup on January 28, 1823. Chile's new dictator, Ramón Freire, formerly O'Higgins' "closest ally", had slowly turned against O'Higgins in the preceding years. Freire had fought under O'Higgins at the Battle of Maipú, was promoted to colonel for his services to the independence, and finally named Intendant of Concepción. His friendship with O'Higgins started to crack by degrees, however, until in 1822 he resigned his position in disagreement. His name became a rallying point for those discontented with O'Higgins, but the two of them never came to an armed conflict. O'Higgins' abdication was typically dramatic: baring his chest, he offered up his life should his accusers demand it of him. In return, the junta declared they held nothing against O'Higgins, and saluted him. O'Higgins was made governor of Concepción, an appointment which did not last long: it was time for O'Higgins to leave Chile.

After being deposed, O'Higgins embarked from the port of Valparaiso in July 1823, in the British corvette Fly, never to see Chile again. Originally he had intended to return to Ireland, but whilst passing through Peru he was strongly encouraged by Simón Bolívar to join the nationalist effort there. Bolívar's government granted O'Higgins the Hacienda de Cuiva and the Hacienda Montalván in San Vicente de Cañete, near Lima. O'Higgins lived in exile for the rest of his life accompanied by his illegitimate son, Pedro Demetrio O'Higgins (1817–1868), his mother, and his half-sister Rosa Rodriguez Riquelme (1781–1850). According to a 2001 documentary, Bernardo O'Higgins also had a daughter, Petronila Riquelme O'Higgins (b. 1809-?), by Patricia Rodríguez. As his father Ambrosio had done, Bernardo O'Higgins never acknowledged any of his children!

O'Higgins travelled to join Bolívar's army in its final liberation of Peru, but upon arrival, he found that Bolivar did not intend to give him a command—instead appointing him a general of Gran Colombia and making him a special court-martial judge for Chilean volunteers. Making his way back to Lima, O'Higgins heard of Bolivar's victory at the Battle of Ayacucho. He returned to Bolivar for the victory celebrations, but as a civilian. "Señor," he toasted, addressing Bolívar, "America is free. From now on General O'Higgins does not exist; I am only Bernardo O'Higgins, a private citizen. After Ayacucho, my American mission is over."

When Andrés de Santa Cruz became head of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation in 1836, O'Higgins endorsed his integrationist policies, and wrote a letter of support to him the following year when the Confederation came under attack from the Chilean forces of Diego Portales—ultimately offering to act as a mediator in the conflict. With the rise of Agustín Gamarra, O'Higgins found himself out of favour in Peru. Meanwhile, the Chilean government had begun to rehabilitate O'Higgins, reappointing him to his old rank of captain-general in the Chilean army. In 1842, the National Congress of Chile finally voted to allow O'Higgins to return to Chile. After travelling to Callao to embark for Chile, however, O'Higgins began to succumb to cardiac problems and was too weak to travel. His doctor ordered him to return to Lima, where on 24 October 1842, aged 64, O'Higgins died.

After his death, his remains were first buried in Peru, before being repatriated to Chile in 1869. O'Higgins had wished to be buried in the city of Concepción, but this was never to be. For a long time they remained in a marble coffin in the Cementerio General de Santiago, and in 1979 his remains were transferred by Augusto Pinochet to the Altar de la Patria, in front of the Palacio de La Moneda. In 2004, his body was temporarily stored at the Chilean Military School during the building of the Plaza de la Ciudadanía, before being finally laid to rest in the new underground Crypt of the Liberator.

O'Higgins is widely commemorated today, both in Chile and beyond. The Chilean village of Villa O'Higgins was named in his honor. The main thoroughfare of the Chilean capital, Santiago, is Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins. There is also the Bernado O'Higgins National Park in Chile. There is a bust of O'Higgins in O'Higgins Square in Richmond, south-west London. Each year the borough's mayor is joined by members of the Chilean Embassy for a ceremony, and a wreath is placed there. A blue plaque was erected in his honor at Clarence House in Richmond, where he lived while studying in London. There is also a plaque in his honor in Merrion Square in Dublin and in the Garavogue River Walkway in Sligo, Ireland, and a sculpture near Central Railway Station in Plaza Iberoamericana, near 58 Chalmers St, Sydney, Australia. In Buenos Aires, there is a large statue of him in the center of the Plaza República de Chile, and several localities in Argentina are named after him. A plaque has also been erected in Cadiz, Spain, in the Plaza de Candelaria, where he resided for four years. In 2005, a bust was erected "To the Liberator of Chile" by the Chilean Embassy in the Parque Morazan in San José, Costa Rica. A statue of Bernardo O'Higgins in the city of Concepción was destroyed during the 2010 earthquake in Chile.

Chile's highest award for a foreign citizen is named in honour of O'Higgins, whilst the Chilean Navy has named several ships in his honor, including an armored cruiser (1897–1946), a World War II–era light cruiser (the former USS Brooklyn, CL-40) (1951–1992), and a French-built Scorpene class submarine (2003–present). The Chilean Base General Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme research station in Antarctica is named in his honor. It is located on the northernmost part of the continent.

On 28 October 2010, An Post (the Irish Post Office) and the Chilean Post Office, CorreosChile issued 82c se-tenant stamps to commemorate the bicentenary of the beginning of the struggle for Chilean Independence. The stamps honour two men with Irish backgrounds, who played a crucial role in the quest for Chile's liberation, Bernardo O'Higgins and John MacKenna.

Sources :

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Timeline: American Civil War


  1. Hiram Berdan
  2. Mary Edwards Walker
  3. William Barker Cushing
  4. William Tecumseh Sherman


  1. Patrick Cleburne

José de San Martín (1778-1850), Leader of South American Independence Struggle

Painting of José de San Martín

The Battle of Bailén was one of the most important battles fought by José de San Martín at the Peninsular War

San Martín proclaims the independency of Peru in 1821

General San Martín in Paris, 1848

Statue of José de San Martín in Santiago de Chile, April 2005

José Francisco de San Martín, known simply as Don José de San Martín (c. 1778 Yapeyú, Corrientes, Spanish Empire – 17 August 1850 Boulogne-sur-Mer, France ), was an Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern part of South America's successful struggle for independence from Spain.

José de San Martín was the fifth and last son of Juan de San Martín, an unsuccessful Spanish soldier, and Gregoria Matorras del Ser. He was born in Yapeyú, Corrientes. The exact year of his birth is disputed, as there are no records of his baptism. Later documents formulated during his life (such as passports, military career records, wedding, etc.) gave him varying ages. Most of these documents point to his year of birth as either 1777 or 1778. The family moved to Buenos Aires in 1781, when San Martín was three or four years old.

Juan requested to be transferred to Spain, leaving the Americas in 1785. The family settled in Madrid, but as Juan was unable to earn a promotion, they moved to Málaga. Once in the city, San Martín enrolled in Malaga's school of temporalities, beginning his studies in 1785. It is unlikely that he finished the six-year long elementary education, before he enrolled in the Regiment of Murcia in 1789, when he reached the required age of 11. He began his military career as a cadet in the Murcian Infantry Unit.

After joining the Regiment of Murcia, San Martín participated in several campaigns in Africa, fighting in Oran against the Moors in 1791 among other places. Later, by the end of the First Coalition of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1797, his rank was raised to Sub-Lieutenant for his actions against the French in the Pyrenees. On August of the same year, after several engagements, his regiment surrendered to British naval forces in 1798. Soon afterward, he continued to fight in southern Spain, mainly in Cádiz and Gibraltar with the rank of Second Captain of light infantry. He continued to fight Portugal on the side of Spain in the War of the Oranges in 1801, and was soon after promoted to captain in 1804.

When the Peninsular War started in 1808, San Martín was assigned ayudante (Spanish, adjutant) of the First Regiment Voluntarios de Campo Mayor. After his actions against the French, he became captain in the Regiment of Borbon. On 19 July 1808, Spanish and French forces engaged in the Battle of Bailén, in which Spanish forces prevailed, allowing the Army of Andalucia to attack and seize Madrid. For his actions during this battle, San Martín was decorated with a gold medal, and his rank raised to lieutenant colonel. On 16 May 1811, he participated in the Battle of Albuera under the command of general William Carr Beresford. By this time, the French armies held most of the Iberian Peninsula under their control, with the exception of Cádiz. San Martín resigned from the Spanish army, by controversial reasons, and moved to South America, where he joined the Spanish American wars of independence.

With the help of Lord MacDuff, San Martín obtained a passport to England where he met several criollos, American-born Spaniards like himself, who were part of the Logia Lautaro founded by the Venezuelan Francisco de Miranda. According to Argentine historian Felipe Pigna, San Martín was introduced to the Maitland Plan by members of the lodge founded by Miranda and Lord MacDuff.

In 1812, San Martín set sail for Buenos Aires aboard the British frigate George Canning.

Following his arrival in Buenos Aires on 9 March 1812, his rank of lieutenant colonel was recognized by the Triumvirate and he was thus entrusted with the creation of the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers (Spanish: Regimiento de Granaderos a Caballo), which would become the best-trained military unit of the revolution!

During 1812, he focused on training troops by following the modern warfare techniques he had acquired during the Peninsular War. With Carlos María de Alvear and José Matias Zapiola, he also established the Lodge of Rational Knights, an offspring in Buenos Aires of the independence lodge in Cádiz. On September of the same year, he married María de los Remedios de Escalada, a young woman from one of the local wealthy families.

In October, when news of the victory of the Army of the North (Spanish: Ejército del Norte) commanded by Manuel Belgrano reached Buenos Aires, the Lautaro Lodge initiated political pressure, backed by San Martín's armed forces and popular demand, to impose its candidates into government, thus forcing the First Triumvirate to an end and initiating the Second Triumvirate with members Juan José Paso, Nicolás Rodríguez Peña, and Antonio Álvarez Jonte (Rodríguez Peña and Álvarez Jonte were members of the lodge). This new government strengthened the position held by the Army, and decided to lay siege to Montevideo, which was controlled by loyalists to the Spanish Crown. On 7 December 1812, San Martín was promoted to Colonel.

Although not technically a battle (in Spanish the battle is referred as Combate de San Lorenzo ("San Lorenzo Combat")), references in English language refer to the event as the "Battle of San Lorenzo".

On 28 January 1813, San Martín with his Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers was sent to protect the Paraná River shore from the Spanish Fleet's ships under command of General José Zavala. On the morning of 3 February, the Spanish forces disembarked and fought against San Martín in the Battle of San Lorenzo.

During the fight, San Martín's horse was shot dead. The horse fell, trapping one of San Martín's legs underneath it. This made him an easy target, but Sergeant Juan Bautista Cabral helped him extricate himself. While he was helping the Colonel, Cabral was attacked himself, and died from his wounds after the battle. After the battle, San Martín was promoted to General. This was San Martín's first military action in South America.

After the victories of Tucuman and Salta, the Army of the North, commanded by Manuel Belgrano, lost much ground after serious defeats at Vilcapugio (1 October) and Ayohuma (14 November 1813). The Triumvirate then decided to send San Martín to the North with a small infantry army and his cavarly regiment.

After joining the defeated Army of the North in Yatasto, he took command of it on January 1814, and Belgrano became second in command. During his command, the Army camped in Tucumán, where he started instructing the troops, created a new military school, and sent Colonel Martín Miguel de Güemes to fight against loyalists coming from Peru to gain time. However, after minor struggles in Salta and Jujuy, news of the victory of Commander Guillermo Brown against the royalists' navy, and the resulting blockade of Montevideo, made the loyalist forces from Peru retreat to regroup.

During his command of the Army of the North, San Martín confirmed one of the reasons behind the Maitland Plan's scheme: royalist forces that came down from Upper Perú (roughly present day Bolivia) were easily defeated by the independentist forces in the valleys of Salta and Jujuy. But because of the geographical advantage, forces attacking Upper Peru were easily defeated by the royalists for the very same reasons.

In Córdoba, San Martín continued preparing his plan of attacking Lima — the Capital city of the Viceroyalty of Peru — through Chile. He realized that it would be impossible to enter the large city without having conquered the land to the south. To this end, he requested to be appointed governor of the Province of Cuyo. Later, Juan Pueyrredón was sent by the provisional government of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, and gave San Martín full support on his Liberatory Campaign (Spanish: Campaña Libertadora).

One month after he took office, royalist forces defeated rebel forces under Bernardo O'Higgins' command (O'Higgins fled to the Andes). San Martín strengthened his espionage network with the so-called Guerra de zapa ("War of Zapa"), a pun on the expression Trabajo de zapa, which means hidden work done slyly towards some particular aim. He kept his troops in Mendoza to train and prepare them.

On this behalf, San Martín sent his Aide-de-camp and amateur cartographer Álvarez Condarco (carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence of the "United Provinces of South America" (today Argentina) to Chile as an excuse) through Los Patos pass (the longest path), and returned through the Uspallata (the shortest one), to perform reconnaissance of several locations, mainly the Chacabuco area. Other measures included a disinformation campaign in Chile by sending fake information on the possible attack routes, and information gathering of the situation in Chile in order to prevent a possible attack from there.

During his governorship of Cuyo, he organized the Army of Cuyo. On 8 November 1814 he created the 11th Infantry Battalion (Spanish: Batallón Número 11 de Infantería) which included the argentinian Corps of Chile (Spanish: Cuerpo de Auxiliares Argentinos o Cuerpo de Chile), which was under command of Lieutenant Colonel Juan Gregorio de las Heras. By October 1815, after contributions of several provinces, the army had 1,600 infantry soldiers, 1,000 men in cavalry, 200 men in artillery and 10 cannons. However many problems arose, such as low supplies of powder, iron, and uniforms. Because existing local industries were not enough to supply the Army, San Martín handled the problem by creating local industries in Cuyo to meet the requirements of it.

On the other hand, despite having the support of the Supreme Director Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, opinions about his campaign were not as favorable on the national level. His efforts were often undermined by the skepticism of some local leaders about the viability of the campaign against the Viceroyalty of Peru through the Andes. However, on 1 August 1816, Pueyrredón renamed the army to Army of the Andes (Spanish: Ejército de los Andes), appointed San Martín as its General in Chief, and gave the Army a national priority level. By the end of this difficult process, San Martin’s army had grown immensely.

In September 1816, San Martín relocated the Army of the Andes to El Plumerillo, in the northern part of Mendoza Province, where he finished the details to start his crossing of the Andes. The army was divided in two main columns and four minor ones, keeping the decided paths in secret.

On 18 January 1817, a main column parted with the artillery to Chile through Uspallata, under command of Brigadier Juan Gregorio de las Heras, reaching Las Cuevas on 1 February 1817. The second main column, led by San Martín, left on 19 January through Los Patos pass, and reached San Andrés de Tártaro on 8 February, where he was later joined by Las Heras, concluding the first part of the crossing. By the time the main columns reunited, both had already had minor skirmishes: the first column had fought royalists in Potrerillos, while the forces led by San Martín had fought the Battles of Achupallas and Las Coimas.

The crossing of the Andes was extremely difficult and took 21 days due to high altitudes and low temperature. It is considered a major feat in military history. For instance, the army at Pass El Espinacito reached a maximum altitude of 4536 meters!

After crossing the Andes and entering Chile, the Spanish royalist forces were taking positions in Mount Cuesta Vieja, preparing themselves for the confrontation against the Army of the Andes.

By 10 February 1817, the Army of the Andes was in the Aconcagua valley, and the Spanish royalist forces had not still taken full positions. San Martín then took the initiative and hastened preparations for his attack. Despite a severe attack of Rheumatoid arthritis, San Martín commanded the battle, and seeing the Spanish forces under numerical inferiority and considering the surprise factor, developed a strategy for the Spanish forces to surrender, avoiding bloodshed. The charge was a stalemate until Soler's division joined the battle turning the odds in favor of the patriot side.

After the battle, the royalist forces had suffered five hundred casualties and six hundred royalist soldiers had been taken prisoner. On the Army of the Andes side, there were twelve killed and around one hundred wounded. The army also gained new artillery and other weapons, besides restoring the Chilean revolution. San Martín sent a message reporting the victory: "The Army of the Andes has attained glory and can report: In twenty-four days we have completed the campaign, passed through the highest mountain range on the globe, defeated the tyrants and given freedom to Chile".

On 14 February 1817, San Martín and O'Higgins triumphally entered Santiago, and on 18 February, in a meeting held in the town open hall, San Martín was appointed Governor of Chile. San Martín immediately resigned, thus O'Higgins was elected Supreme Director of the State of Chile (Spanish: Director Supremo del Estado de Chile). The United Army (Spanish: Ejército Unido) was created with Chilean and Argentine soldiers. The Chilean soldiers were under O'Higgins command, while San Martín was General in Chief of the whole United Army.
Then San Martín, in order to raise funds for a fleet, left for Buenos Aires. After negotiating with Pueyrredón, a delegation was sent to London to provide ships for a new fleet in the Pacific Ocean. Back in Chile in the last days of 1817, San Martín sent a delegation to Lima under the pretext of proposing to the Viceroy Joaquín de la Pezuela of Peru the regularization of the war and exchange of POWs. The real purpose was to gain as much information as possible about the enemy's plans. The delegation brought the news that a Spanish army under General Mariano Osorio was about to set sail in four frigates to southern Chile.

Despite the success in the Battle of Chacabuco, and while leaving Santiago and the northern Chile under patriot control, the royalist forces still had strong presence in southern Chile. The men under Osorio's command joined the royalist forces in the south by sea. The royalists also had allied themselves with Mapuche native Americans.

On 19 March 1818, the royalist forces concentrated and fortified in Talca with around five thousand men under General Osorio, while the independent Osorio was not eager to engage in battle, fortifying in Talca. However, after a suggestion from Colonel José Ordóñez an attack was agreed, under Ordoñez' command. In a bold move, Ordoñez made the kind of attack San Martín had feared: circumventing the city and making a surprise attack at night behind the vanguard where the patriot forces were still taking positions. The surprise attack happened before the patriot army had re-positioned itself, and was a directed at the battalion under O'Higgins command, near San Martín's position. Soon, the vanguard soldiers dispersed, leaving O'Higgins in a bad position; his horse was shot dead and he was wounded in one arm. In an uncharacteristic move, instead of ordering retreat San Martín held the position, which made more patriot soldiers flee under enemy fire, leaving weapons and supplies behind. After the initial disorder, however, he ordered retreat. The rear and reserves had already re-positioned, somewhat withstanding the attack, but had no-one in command (Colonel Hilarión de la Quintana had left to headquarters to receive orders after the re-position and had not yet returned). Las Heras took command, and led the men during the retreat, while trying to recover as much artillery and weapons as possible. San Martín and O'Higgins (who were also retreating at full speed) were being closely chased by royalist forces.

By 21 March 1818, the remaining patriot forces of around three and half thousand men reunited in San Fernando, while news of the defeat reached Santiago. Rumors of deaths of O'Higgins and San Martín were spreading, and an exodus from Santiago to Mendoza started.

The battle (which was the only defeat the campaign had suffered) resulted in around 150 killed, and two hundred men taken prisoner. Several hundred had deserted, the whole artillery of the Argentine side was lost along with considerable amounts of horses, mules and weapons from both the Chilean and Argentine parts of the army. Despite the royalist victory, the action proved pyrrhic for their side: an estimated two hundred soldiers had been killed, three hundred men captured and around six hundred had deserted, a total comprising more than half the two thousand men that had charged into the battle. Because of historical records these numbers cannot be completely confirmed.

After the sorpresa de Cancha Rayada (surprise of Cancha Rayada), the royalist forces concentrated and marched towards Santiago. On 4 April 1818, the United Army took positions in Loma Blanca, near the Maipú plains. The army separated into three divisions: Las Heras commanding the column on the right, Colonel Rudecindo Alvarado commanding the column on the left, and Quintana at the rear. O'Higgins (still wounded) was in charge of the reserves.
The royalist forces under General Osorio's command took defensive positions, despite the convictions of some Colonels (among whom was Ordoñez) that taking the offensive as in Cancha Rayada was the best option. According to Irish Mounted Granadier John Thomond O'Brien, San Martín, seeing Osorio's disposition of the forces, exclaimed "Osorio is clumsier than I thought. Today's triumph is ours. The sun as witness!".

Around 11 am on the morning of 5 April 1818, the patriotic forces charged against the royalist forces with devastating resolution: after the sustained six-hour battle, the royalists were defeated. Osorio attempted to retreat to a property called Lo Espejos (The Mirrors) but failing to reach it, fled to Talcahuano with around twelve hundred men, although virtually rendered useless as they had lost most, if not all, of their weapons.

The royalist forces suffered two thousand dead, three thousand prisoners taken, and the loss of all its artillery. The patriotic forces, in contrast, suffered one thousand casualties. Historian and Colonel José Luis Picciuolo stated in his book Argentina Cavalry in the History of the Army that "this battle was executed as a typical act of annihilation".

As result of the battle, the Spanish control over southern Chile ended, and the independence declared on 12 February 1818 was partially accomplished. Viceroy Pezuela considered southern Chile lost, and Osorio set sail for Peru, leaving Colonel Juan Francisco Sánchez in charge of one thousand men in Talcahuano.

Since the Battle of Chacabuco, San Martín had urged both governments of Santiago and Buenos Aires to build a fleet on the Pacific. Convoys had been sent to the United States and England in order to buy and hire several ships, however, lack of political cohesion in Argentina, a Spanish blockade in Valparaíso, and the Battles of Cancha Rayada and Maipú heavily delayed the project. On the other hand, the mountainous landscape of the region lent itself to a large dependence of the colonial Chilean economy on maritime trade routes and shipping. This meant that there was an abundance of shipyards and a ready supply of sailors.

Right after the Battle of Maipú, San Martín left for Buenos Aires in order to speed up the process (and meet his wife and daughter which he had not seen since the start of the Campaign of the Andes). Once in Buenos Aires, after learning the fact that half a million pesos would not be available for the project from Pueyrredón, San Martín resigned as Commander of the Army under the pretext of being prescribed by his doctor to take rest in Chile's hotsprings. The resignation was not accepted and San Martín was granted a license.

After Supreme Director José Rondeau was defeated in the Battle of Cepeda, San Martín sent his resignation of the Army's command from Santiago to Rancagua, where Colonel Las Heras had settled with the army, arguing that the authority to which he had to report had ceased to exist, and thus his own authority had expired. The officials of the army rejected his resignation on the basis that the army's goal was to hasten the happiness of the country and the authority was given ultimately by the health of the people, something that was immutable and could not expire.

On August 20th 1820, a fleet of eight warships and sixteen transport ships of the Chilean Navy, under the command of Thomas Alexander Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, set sail from Valparaíso to Paracas, southern Peru.

On September 7th, the army landed on Paracas and successfully attacked Pisco. On 11 September 1820, San Martín sent a "manifesto" to the Peruvian people stating "My announcement is not that of a conqueror that tries to create a new enslavement. I cannot help but be an accidental instrument of justice and agent of destiny. The outcome of victory will make Peru's capital see for the first time their sons united, freely choosing their government and emerging into the face of earth among the rank of nations".

While previous campaigns had been militaristic, San Martín avoided confrontation in Peru and emphasized diplomacy; the reason was that Lima, as the center of the Spanish Empire, would be more against the nationalist cause if its forces used violence and/or threatened to break the established monarchical-style order. Also, San Martín's army was smaller than that of the royalist forces in Peru, and he was wary of attacking the Spanish head on. His strategy consisted of waiting for the Peruvian people to begin the uprising by themselves. This resulted in many diplomatic envoys to Lima, urging viceroy Joaquín de la Pezuela to grant the independence of Peru. However, these diplomatic efforts proved fruitless.

After seizing Pisco, the army set sail on 26 October toward the north and landed at Huacho — a better place from a strategic point of view — on 12 November. Huacho was used by San Martín as his main headquarters from thereon. While there, San Martín first heard of the emancipation of Guayaquil under the leadership of Peruvian Gregorio Escobedo. This and other events such as the maritime blockade of Callao by Cochrane and the victories over royalists by Alvarez de Arenales in Guacarillo (6 October) and Pasco (20 December) strengthened the position of the main independentist effort led by San Martín.

On 29 January, Pezuela was deposed by José de la Serna. On 21 February 1821, San Martín promulgated the Provisional Rules (Spanish, Reglamento Provisional) aimed to provide legal guarantees to the Peruvian citizens, and designed the first flag of Peru. Soon afterwards he started preparing to march on Lima.

In March, 1821 the army set sail and landed in Ancón (near Lima), while dispatching general Guillermo Miller to the southern coasts and Álvarez de Arenales toward the eastern hills, furthering Lima's isolation. Diplomatic efforts once again failed, as Viceroy Serna did not agree to declare independence, and San Martín did not accept Serna's proposal of acceptance by the independentists of the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and the sending emissaries to the Cortes Generales.

On 2 July, San Martín met Viceroy Serna. This time San Martín proposed to create a constitutional monarchy with a European monarch to be appointed later. Serna, arguing that he did not have the power to make such a decision, asked for two days to discuss the issue. However, after discussing the issue with the royalist forces' commanders, the proposition was turned down on the basis that they did not have the power to grant independence, even to create a monarchy. On 8 July, Serna and his forces simply abandoned the city, in order to reinforce in the countryside.

San Martín occupied Lima, the capital of Peru, on 12 July 1821. This was a huge loss for the Spanish forces. Independence from Spain for Peru was finally declared on 28 July 1821 and he was voted the "Protector" of the newly independent nation. During the same year, he founded the National Library of Peru, to which he donated his collection of books, and praised the new library as "... one of the most efficient means to spread our intellectual values". After Peru's parliament had been assembled, he resigned his command.

On 26 July 1822, he met with Simón Bolívar at Guayaquil to plan the future of Latin America. Most of the details of this meeting were secret at the time, and this has made the event a matter of much debate among later historians. Some believe that Bolívar's refusal to share command of the combined forces made San Martín withdraw from Peru and resettle as a farmer in Mendoza, Argentina. Another theory claims that San Martín yielded to Bolívar's energy and avoided a confrontation. Many argue that San Martin was a military genius but not as charismatic a leader, or as politically ambitious, as Bolivar.

In 1824, soon after his return to Argentina, his wife Remedios de Escalada de San Martín died. Then he moved to Europe with his daughter Mercedes, first to England, then to Brussels. To keep a neutral position during the 1830 Belgian Revolution he moved to Paris, where he contracted cholera. Cured but weakened, he bought a house and retired at Grand-Bourg, near Évry. His daughter married Mariano Antonio Severo de Balcarce, illegitimate son of Juan Manuel de Rosas, in Paris on 13 December 1832, and they had two daughters. In 1848, when the revolution started in Paris, he decided to move to London, but settled instead at Boulogne-sur-Mer,[4] where he spent the remainder of his days.

He always excluded himself from every possible meddling at the internecine wars of his native country, and refused several offers he had to do so. He even returned to Buenos Aires, but refused to leave the ship when he learned that Juan Lavalle had deposed and executed governor Manuel Dorrego, and returned to Europe. The only occasion in which he offered himself to return to Argentina was at the time of the French blockades of 1838 and 1845. In recognition of the successful defense of Argentine rights in those conflicts, he handed down his sword to Buenos Aires Province Governor Juan Manuel de Rosas through his will. He died on 17 August 1850 in Boulogne-Sur-Mer, France.

In 1880 his remains were taken from Brunoy to Buenos Aires and reinterred in the Buenos Aires Cathedral. The mausoleum also has the remains of Generals Juan Gregorio de las Heras and Tomás Guido, as well as those of the Unknown Soldier of the Independence.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

ORIGIN: Ottoman

  1. Hayreddin Barbarossa
  2. Turgut Reis

Prince Diponegoro (1785-1855), Indonesian Freedom Fighter

Portrait of Prince Diponegoro. Lithograph by C. C. A. Last in 1835 to an original pencil drawing by A. J. Bik from 1830

The submission of "Diepo Negoro" to Lieutenant-General Hendrik Merkus Baron de Kock, 28 March 1830, which ended the Java War (1825–30). Painting by Nicolaas Pieneman (1835)

The same scene as above, this time painted by Indonesian celebrated painter, Raden Saleh

Prince Diponegoro back to his residence after the defeat in Magelang. Lithograph made by Francois Vincent Henri Antoine de Stuers

Statue of Prince Diponegoro in Magelang, Central Java

Diponegoro (Mustahar; Antawirya; 11 November 1785 – 8 January 1855), also known as Dipanegara, was a Javanese prince who opposed the Dutch colonial rule. He played an important role in the Java War (1825–1830). In 1830, the Dutch exiled him to Makassar.

From the foundation of Batavia (present-day Jakarta) in 1619 until its bankruptcy in 1798, the Dutch East India Company carved out a far-flung trading empire for itself in the Indonesian archipelago. In the seventeenth century, the Company secured a near monopoly of the Indonesian spice trade, but it had not yet extended its control territorially except in some areas in West Java where coffee and sugar were grown for export. Only in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when Java was drawn into the Revolutionary (1792-99) and Napoleonic wars (1799-1815), was the modern fate of the archipelago sealed. In quick succession, a Franco-Dutch regime (1808-11) under Napoleon’s only non-French marshal, Herman Willem Daendels (1762-1818), and a five-year British occupation (1811-16) under the equally dictatorial Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781-1826), transformed the colony.

By the time Java was restored to the Dutch in August 1816, the commercial dealings of the Company had been replaced by the beginnings of a modern colonial administration. Over the next century, this would reduce the power of the local rulers and establish Dutch authority in nearly every corner of the archipelago. The boundaries of present-day Indonesia were determined at this time.

As the influence of the West penetrated ever more deeply into the lives of ordinary
Indonesians, events in the Middle East also began to shape the fortunes of the local populations and Dutch colonists alike. The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries witnessed an increase in Arab and Ottoman Turkish influence in Indonesia when increased numbers of Arab migrants from the Hadhramaut (present-day South Yemen) – an area renowned for its religious schools and Muslim scholars – began to settle in the archipelago. The quickening tempo of pilgrim traffic across the Indian Ocean also exposed Indonesians to the teachings of Islamic reformers, in particular those linked to the strict Wahhabi sect which briefly controlled the holy cities of
Islam (Mecca and Medina) (1803-1812).

Further west, the fading glory of the Ottoman empire inspired Indonesian Muslims with an admiration for the one Islamic state which had withstood the might of Christian Europe. Such examples stiffened the resolve of Indonesian Muslim rulers and Islamic divines in the face of post-1816 Dutch imperial expansion. In West Sumatra, a Wahhabi-influenced religious leader (tuanku), Imam Bonjol (1772-1864), emerged as the principal leader of armed resistance to the Dutch in the so-called Paderi (from the Dutch padre = ‘priest’) War (1821-37).

Pangeran (Prince) Diponegoro was born on 11 November 1785 in Yogyakarta, and was the eldest son of Sultan Hamengkubuwono III of Yogyakarta. Despite being of noble blood, Diponegoro did not distance himself from his people. When the sultan died in 1814, Diponegoro was passed over for the succession to the throne in favor of his younger half brother who was supported by the Dutch. Being a devout Muslim, Diponegoro was alarmed by the relaxing of religious observance at his half brother's court, as well as by the court's pro-Dutch policy.

But it was in Java that the nascent imperial power of the Netherlands came closest to defeat during a five-year struggle which became known as the Java War (1825-30). The main Javanese protagonist of this conflict, Pangéran (prince) Diponegoro (1785-1855), whose name literally means ‘the light of the country’, was the eldest son of the third sultan of the central Javanese kingdom of Yogyakarta. A witness to the humiliation of his father’s realm at the hands of both Daendels and Raffles, the prince’s personal experiences as a young man led to his own decision to wage a holy war (jihad) against the Dutch in 1825-30. Although his attempt to force Java’s colonial masters to return to their late eighteenth-century role as merchants proved ultimately unsuccessful, Diponegoro’s struggle would become an inspiration for future generations.

Unusually for a member of the Javanese aristocracy, the young prince spent his childhood in a village environment, having been ‘adopted’ at the age of seven by his great-grandmother, the widow of Yogyakarta’s charismatic founder, Sultan Mangkubumi (r. 1749-92). A lady of great piety and forcefulness, she proved a stern stepmother to the future Java War leader. Growing up on her country estate two miles to the northwest of Yogyakarta, Diponegoro was taught to mix in his youth with Javanese of all classes, in particular farmers and wandering students of religion (santri).

He also learnt to withstand great physical hardships, embarking in his teens on long journeys on foot to local religious schools and places associated with the spirit guardians of southcentral Java. His stepmother’s example may have also quickened such practical skills as his ability to read character from the study of faces, financial acumen and capacity for honest administration. A keen chess player and connoisseur of sweet Cape wine (Constantia), the mystic prince tempered his asceticism with a powerful and vivid intelligence which impressed even his Dutch adversaries. In 1805, Diponegoro made a significant pilgrimage to the south coast which marked his coming of age as a young man.

There in meditations in caves and holy sites near the thunderous surf of the Indian Ocean, he received the early visions which foretold his future role as a Javanese ‘Just King’ (Ratu Adil), a ruler who would restore the moral balance of the universe after a period of corruption and decline. Marked by destiny to ‘raise up the high state of the Islamic religion in Java’, Diponegoro would see himself as an agent of purification. But he was torn between his intensely lived inner life as a mystic and his visionary calling as a military and political leader.

These were exceptional times, however. The world of Diponegoro’s youth – the seemingly ageless Java of custom and tradition – had been washed away by the tsunami that was post- Revolutionary Europe. The years between 1816 and 1825 were particularly bad for the Javanese peasantry. Mercilessly taxed by the newly restored Dutch government, the rural communities also suffered from drought, famine and cholera. Such calamities quickened popular expectations of a coming Ratu Adil, expectations which Diponegoro appeared to embody. The casus belli when it came was relatively minor. A highway project--demarcated with intentional insolence by the Dutch-appointed prime minister of Yogyakarta across Diponegoro’s estate-- led to an armed stand off which in turn precipitated a Dutch led military expedition.

Fleeing on horseback to his meditation cave in the limestone hills to the south of Yogyakarta as the Dutch torched his residence, the prince set up the standard of revolt. The Java War had begun. In the next five years, it would cause the death of 200,000 Javanese and damage the livelihoods of two million more. Many others would feel its indirect consequences. At the end of hostilities in March 1830, the Dutch remained in undisputed control of Java.

In 1821, famine and plague spread in Java. His half brother Hamengkubuwono IV (r. 1814-1821) who had succeeded their father died. He left only an infant son as heir, Hamengkubuwono V. When the year-old was appointed as new sultan, there was a dispute over his guardianship. Diponegoro was again passed over, though he believed he had been promised the right to succeed his half brother. This series of natural disaster and political upheaval finally erupted into full scale rebellion.

Dutch colonial rule was becoming unpopular by the local farmers because of tax rises, crop failures and by Javanese nobles because the Dutch colonial authorities deprived them of their right to lease land. Because the local farmers and many nobles were ready to support Diponegoro and because he believed that he had been chosen by divine powers to lead a rebellion against the Christian colonials, he started a holy war against the Dutch. Diponegoro was widely believed to be the Ratu Adil, the Just Ruler predicted in the Pralembang Joyoboyo.

The beginning of the war saw large losses on the side of the Dutch, due to their lack of coherent strategy and commitment in fighting Diponegoro's guerrilla warfare. Ambushes were set up, and food supplies were denied to the Dutch troops. The rebellion turned out to be a massive mutiny. Tens of thousands of Javanese nobles and peasants rallied together under the banner of the courageous prince. The Dutch suffered one defeat after another. Each year, the Dutch lost one third of their army. The Diponegoro war suddenly became the most expensive and one of the largest wars ever fought by the Dutch in the Netherlands Indies.

The Dutch finally committed themselves to controlling the spreading rebellion by increasing the number of troops and sending General De Kock to stop the insurgencies. De Kock developed a strategy of fortified camps (benteng) and mobile forces. Heavily-fortified and well-defended soldiers occupied key landmarks to limit the movement of Diponegoro's troops while mobile forces tried to find and fight the rebels. From 1829, Diponegoro definitely lost the initiative and he was put in a defensive position. Many troops and leaders were defeated or deserted.

In 1830 Diponegoro's military was as good as beaten and negotiations were started. Diponegoro demanded to have a free state under a sultan and he wanted to become the Muslim leader (kalief) for the whole of Java. In March 1830 he was invited to negotiate under a flag of truce. He accepted but was taken prisoner on 28 March despite the flag of truce. De Kock claims that he had warned several Javanese nobles to tell Diponegoro he had to lessen his previous demands or that he would be forced to take other measures. The Dutch exiled him to Manado, and later Makassar. He died while still on custody on 8 January 1855.

Today Diponegoro is a National Hero of Indonesia, and Kodam IV/Diponegoro, the Central Java Military Region, is named after him.

Sources :

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Antonio José de Sucre (1795-1830), Grand Marshal of Ayacucho

Antonio José de Sucre

Antonio José de Sucre

Antonio José de Sucre

Statue of Antonio José de Sucre

Monument to Antonio José de Sucre in the constitutional capital of Bolivia, Sucre

Antonio José de Sucre y Alcalá (Spanish: [anˈtonjo xoˈse ðe ˈsukɾe i alkaˈla]; 1795 – 1830), known as the "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho" (English: "Grand Marshal of Ayacucho"), was a Venezuelan independence leader. Sucre was one of Simón Bolívar's closest friends, generals and statesmen.

The aristocratic Sucre family can trace its roots back to origins in Belgium. It arrived in Venezuela through Charles de Sucre y Pardo, a Flemish nobleman, son of Charles Adrian de Sucre, Marquess of Preux and Buenaventura Carolina Isabel Garrido y Pardo, a Spanish noblewoman. Charle de Sucre y Pardo served a soldier in Catalonia in 1698 and was later named Governor of Cartagena de Indias and Captain General of Cuba. On December 22, 1779, Charles Sucre y Pardo arrived in Cumana, Venezuela having been named Governor of New Andalucia, present day Sucre state.

Antonio José de Sucre was born in Cumaná, then part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada and the Captaincy-General of Venezuela, son of Colonel Vicente de Sucre y García de Urbaneja and wife María Manuela de Alcalá y Sánchez Ramírez de Arellano. The Sucres were a wealthy and distinguished family and his father was a military officer in the Spanish armies.

In 1814, Sucre joined the battles for South American independence from Spain. He proved himself an able military leader; in 1818, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and in 1821, at the age of 26, he was given the rank of brigadier general, making him one of the youngest Generals in the army! After the Battle of Boyacá, Sucre was made Bolívar's chief of staff.
In 1821, Bolívar put him in charge of the campaign to liberate Quito, and Sucre won a decisive victory at the Battle of Pichincha on May 24, 1822. Shortly after the battle, Sucre and Bolívar entered the newly-liberated Quito and Sucre was named President of the Province of Quito.
Further victories followed over the Spanish forces in Perú, notably on August 6, 1824 at the Battle of Junín. On December 9, Sucre decisively captured the bulk of the Spanish troops and command, including the Viceroy, at Ayacucho. The victory ensured the independence of Peru and Alto Perú, which Sucre and others soon established as the new country of Bolivia, thus ending all fighting for independence in Spanish South America. As a reward for his efforts, Sucre was given the highest possible honorary title of the "Grand Marshal of Ayacucho" at the age of 29.

After the victory at Ayacucho, Bolívar would write his Resumen Sucinto de la Vida del General Sucre, or "Short Review of the Life of General Sucre" a short biography full of flattering comments about his lieutenant. In a letter telling Sucre of the biography he had written, Bolívar said:

“Believe me, General, nobody loves your glory as much as I do. Never has a Chief paid more glorious tribute to a lieutenant. At the moment it is being printed, a telling of your life done by myself; being faithful to my conscience I give you all that you deserve. I say this so that you can see that I am fair: I disapprove much that I do not think is right, but at the same time I admire that which is sublime.

Sucre was elected president of Bolivia in 1826, but he became dissatisfied with local political developments. In 1828, when a strong movement arose against Bolívar, his followers and the Bolivian constitution, Sucre resigned. He was never really happy in as a politician and intended to retire from politics. He moved to Quito, the home city of his wife, Mariana de Carcelén y Larrea, Marquess of Solanda (July 27, 1805 - December 15, 1861), daughter of Felipe de Carcelén y Sánchez de Orellana and Teresa de Larrea y Jijón. He had an illegitimate son by Manuela de la Concepción de Roxas y Iñíguez (b. December 13, 1809) named Pedro César de Sucre y Roxas on June 7, 1828. He had a daughter by his wife, who was born in Quito on June 30, 1829 but died there on November 15, 1831.

In late 1828, urged by Bolívar, the Congress of Gran Colombia named Sucre President of Congress. They also intended to name him Bolívar's successor, but this came to nothing because Sucre likely would have it turned down. Sucre was named to a commission, headed by José Antonio Páez, that traveled to Venezuela in 1829 to quell political separatism among local authorities. The difficulty of this task added to Sucre's continuing dissatisfaction with Gran Colombia's political environment.

In early 1830, Sucre heard the news about Bolívar's resignation and intention to leave the country, so he decided to return Quito in order to resume his private life. However, he was fatally ambushed near Pasto, at the Sierra de Berruecos in southern Colombia on June 4, 1830.
The details of the murder were unclear and theories about it abound. One of the older and better documented theories says that José María Obando masterminded the assassination, and one of the alleged assassins named in this theory was later executed for his apparent role. Later theories implicated different (or additional) individuals, such as Juan José Flores, Agustín Gamarra and Francisco de Paula Santander.

Some have argued that Sucre was assassinated so as to leave no clear successor to Bolívar. Sucre represented, according to historian Tomas Polanco Alcantara, "the indispensable complement to Simón Bolívar". When news of Sucre's death came to Bolívar, he said, "Se ha derramado, Dios excelso, la sangre del inocente Abel..." ("The blood of the innocent Abel has been spilled, God almighty..."). Bolivar later wrote (Gaceta de Colombia, July 4, 1830):

If he had breathed his spirit upon the theater of victory, with his last breath he would have given thanks to heaven for having given him a glorious death; but cowardly murdered in a dark mountain, he leaves his fatherland the duty of persecuting this crime and of adopting measures that will curb new scandals and the repetition of scenes as lamentable and painful as this.

The department of Sucre in Colombia and the city of Sucre in Bolivia are named after him. The former currency of Ecuador was the sucre. In 1909 the State of Venezuela in which he was born, Cumaná, was renamed Sucre. A large neighborhood in the city of Caracas is named Sucre, and there are several Venezuelan municipalities named Antonio José de Sucre Municipality or Sucre Municipality. A Bolivarian Mission, Mission Sucre, is named for him. The Macagua Dam in Ciudad Guayana was named after him as well.

Some of his descendants in Venezuela, Ecuador and U.S.A have followed in his military and political footsteps.

Antonio José de Sucre is buried in the Cathedral of Quito, Ecuador, as he had said, "I want my bones to be forever in Quito".

Sources :

José Antonio Páez (1790-1873), The Man With Many Nicknames

José Antonio Páez dressed like Hussar, in 1828

José Antonio Páez at the battle of Las Queseras del Medio

Portrait of José Antonio Páez in 1854

Painting of José Antonio Páez by John J. Peoli (1890)

Plaza José Antonio Páez monument in Parque Glorias Patrias, Merida

José Antonio Páez Herrera (13 June 1790 – 6 May 1873) was General in Chief of the army fighting Spain during the Venezuelan Wars of Independence, in addition to becoming the President of Venezuela once it was independent of the Gran Colombia (1830–1835; 1839–1843; 1861–1863). He is considered a prime example of a 19th century South American caudillo.

Páez was born in Curpa, Portuguesa State in Venezuela. His paternal grandmother, Luisa Antonia de Mendoza and Mota, was daughter of Luís Rodríguez de Mendoza, a native of Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife (Canary Island). He was of humble origins, his father being a low level employee of the colonial government. As a boy he was forced to work like a slave. By the age of 20, his father already died, Páez was married and earning a living by trading cattle.
Late in 1810, he joined a cavalry squadron, led by a former employer, set up with the purpose of fighting the colonial government. In 1813, he asked for leave from his squadron with the intent of setting and leading his own, which he did, joining the Western Republican Army with the rank of sergeant. Páez had an ingratiating personality which made him very much liked amongst those who knew him. He was also looked up to for his skills as a horseman and for his physical capabilities.

Páez, a soldier at heart, started moving up the ranks by winning year after year several engagements against the royalists with his band of marauding llaneros (plainsmen). He came to be known by the nicknames of "El Centauro de los Llanos" (The Centaur of the Plains), and "El León de Payara" (The Lion of Payara) or (The Lion of Apure).

Páez had been leading the fighting in the plains while Simón Bolívar was busy with the eastern part of the country. Early in 1818, both men met to discuss better coordination of their efforts. After shortly fighting in the center of the country, Páez was ordered to go back to the western plains, where he took from the Spanish the city of San Fernando in Apure.

Páez won all of six major battles that he led by himself, the most celebrated one being the Battle of Las Queseras del Medio.

Late in 1820, an armistice had been signed with the Spanish commander and a temporary suspension of hostilities had taken place. However, ongoing developments were making difficult to maintain the armistice and, consequently, it was agreed it would lapse on 28 April 1821.
All five major fighting groups of the Venezuelan army were to start moving towards a central area. Some with the purpose of joining together in one single group and others with the intention of guarding the approach to that region to prevent royalists units from other far away areas from converging and reinforcing the main Spanish army stationed in the same area.

In early June 1821, the 6,500 men republican army was divided and organized in three divisions. The 1st division, made up of 2,500 men, was under Páez's command and formed by two battalions: Bravos de Apure (Apure Braves) and Cazadores Britanicos (British Hunters or as more often translated to English, the British Legion) and seven cavalry regiments.

By 20 June, all three republican divisions converge from different directions in the plain of Carabobo. With the royalists well entrenched in the center and the south, on the morning of 21 June, Páez was given command of an additional cavalry regiment and ordered to take it together with his own division through the hills on the north side and into the plain and to engage the Spanish, while the 2nd division would stay behind Páez and the 3rd would remain in a defensive position waiting to engage the enemy in the center.

On seeing Páez's men move, the Spanish commander, Miguel de la Torre, orders one of his elite battalions, the Burgos, to reinforce and defend the north flank. Initially, the Spanish so fiercely engage the Bravos de Apure battalion that it had to fall back on two occasions. Páez sent his Cazadores Britanicos to help the Bravos and together they fought back the Spanish, now reinforced themselves by two additional battalions. As the fighting intensified, de la Torre sent more troops to the north. Páez then sent his cavalry further north to outflank the Spanish and come down on the plain from behind. At this moment, the battle is obviously going against the Spanish, who in desperation kept sending reinforcements. In the meantime, Páez's men were gaining terrain and closing on falling Spanish from all sides. Some of the Spanish battalions supposed to join and reinforce the engagement in the north, on seeing how their comrades are faring, decide to disobey orders and retreat. As it becomes evident that the republicans were winning the battle, the other divisions moved forward, but by now the bulk of the work had already been done by Páez and his men.

With the Battle of Carabobo, the military fate of the Spanish army in Venezuela was sealed. The victory was carried by Páez. Bolívar promoted him on site to General in Chief of the republican army.

In the battle, the Spanish lost over 65% of their men; the survivors took refuge in the castle of Puerto Cabello, which, until it was taken by Páez and his men in 1823, was the last Spanish stronghold in Venezuela territory.

Following the Battle of Carabobo, Páez was named General Commander of the provinces of Caracas and Barinas (at the time they included the important regions of Caracas, Barquisimeto, Barinas and Apure).

It had been Bolivar's dream to unite the liberated Spanish provinces into a single great country: La Gran Colombia. It was made up of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. As the war against Spain came to an end, federalist and regionalist sentiments began to arise once again.

While Bolívar was engaged in military campaigns in Peru, he was unable to carry on his duties as president of Gran Colombia. As a result, the center of power of the executive branch was in Bogotá under the leadership of Vice President Francisco de Paula Santander, from New Granada (modern-day Colombia and Panama). While some leaders saw Gran Colombia as only a military necessity, others saw it as a real administrative entity. Thus confusion arose between the central government in Bogotá and the provinces and the municipalities. This made Páez and some Venezuelan politicians uncomfortable. Then in 1826, after the Congress in Santa Fe de Bogotá under Santander found a Venezuelan hero from the independence war guilty of assassinating the French Colonel Emanuel Roergas Serviez in Colombia, Páez initiated and led a movement that became known as "La Cosiata" (a word that has never existed in Spanish language and that at the time was made up to refer to this movement and meaning something along the lines of "that weird thing without a name").

La Cosiata started in April 1826 as a quasi-spontaneous movement (as existing historical interpretations differ) of local politicians and personalities supporting Páez. There was pressure in favor of Páez's removal from his office by locals in Venezuela, who had accused him of abusing his authority in relation to implementing orders coming from Bogotá -orders which Páez himself allegedly did not agree much with-: the forced recruitment of men for the army. The Congress in Bogotá, including several of the Venezuelans among it, received the complaints coming from Venezuela, which alleged that Páez had not properly understood the extent of his orders and had exceeded them in his implementation. Congress decided that it alone could judge Páez for his actions, and ordered him to go to Bogotá for his trial.

Páez was initially willing to go. However, the irony now dictated that some of the same local personalities that were originally unhappy with Páez for implementing Santander's orders now felt insulted for their leader's having to go to Bogotá to be tried. After a few days of uncertainty and tension in the streets, the municipality of Valencia broke with Bogotá and submitted itself to Páez as military commander. In the following days, more municipalities would follow suit, including Caracas, which had been the one that first had accused Páez. Other municipalities and local officials did not join in this change of opinion.

In July, Santander declared that Páez was in open rebellion against the central government. While all this was happening, Páez wrote to Bolívar, asking him to come back to take charge and solve the imbroglio.

While Páez and his supporters were willing to have Bolívar as supreme leader, they were reluctant to follow Santander. While they wanted changes to be made to the constitution, they initially wanted to do it under Bolívar as part of the Gran Colombia.

Bolívar, finally returned from his campaigns in the south and took command of the executive towards the end of 1826 assuming the extraordinary powers granted to him by the Congress. Conflicting letters between Santander and Bolívar, and Bolívar and Páez, created a degree of uncertainty as to what his actions would be. He finally declared a general amnesty to all those that were involved in La Cosiata, notwithstanding from then on that any disobedience of his orders would be considered a crime against the state. Páez welcomed Bolívar and accepted his authority, and Bolívar named him Supreme Civil and Military Commander of Venezuela. This action confused and disappointed both Santander in Bogotá and the few local officials in Venezuela that had not supported the La Cosiata, who found themselves being removed or transferred to other posts while those that had backed Páez remained or were subsequently promoted.

Until La Cosiata, Páez had been mostly respected as a result of his military successes during the war. From now on he started to be seen as a politician with the power and the wit needed to pursue and defend any changes, or lack thereof, made under the constitutional order. Páez came out from La Cosiata with more power than he ever had before.

In 1830, Páez declared Venezuela independent from Gran Colombia and became president. Although he was not the first president of Venezuela (which declared its independence from Spain in 1811 and named Cristóbal Mendoza as president) he was the first head of government after the dissolution of Gran Colombia. For more than thirty years from his accession to power in 1830 to his death in 1873, Páez was the greatest figure in Venezuela and would return to rule whenever the national government failed. The government ruled by the oligarchy in the country followed the Constitution of 1830. Páez and the conservative oligarchy were conveniently allied because the oligarchy controlled a great amount of their country's wealth but was not popular with the masses where as Páez was very much liked by the masses.The 1830s to the 1860s are thought of by historians as a golden era in Venezuela's history, in contrast to previous and future dictatorships. It must be noted however that behind the constitution stood Páez, a military caudillo and that application of the law was only possible depending on his personal prestige. But he respected the law and was not interested in personal gain as demonstrated by the common conditions in which he lived. Between 1830–1848 under the power of Páez and the oligarchy, the economic power of the church was broken and its dominance destroyed and from then on the conflict between church and state ceased to exist unlike other countries in Latin America.
In 1842, Páez arranged to have the remains of Simón Bolívar repatriated from Santa Marta, Colombia, to the Liberator's hometown of Caracas. The procession was accompanied by exuberant funeral honors before Bolivar's remains were entombed in the Cathedral of Caracas.
In 1847 President José Tadeo Monagas, who was put into power by Páez, dispersed the Congress and proclaimed himself dictator. Páez led a rebellion against him but was defeated by General Santiago Mariño in the 'Battle of the Araguatos',[1] imprisoned, and eventually exiled. He was exiled from the country in 1850 and did not return until 1858. In 1861, he became supreme dictator and ruled only for two years before again returning to exile. He lived in New York during his years in exile and died there in 1873. Páez served as president three times, once from 1831–1835, 1839–1842 and again from 1861–1863.

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