BECK index

Southern South America to 1850

by Sanderson Beck

Southern South America to 1850
Rio de la Plata 1580-1744
Rio de la Plata 1744-1810
Chile 1744-1817
Argentine Revolution 1810-17
Argentine Revolution & Paraguay 1817-30
Argentina & Paraguay 1831-50

This chapter has been published in the book Latin America & Canada to 1850. For ordering information please click here.

Southern South America to 1850

Incas, Peru & Chile to 1817

      Most of the natives in Chile were called Araucanians. They lived simply, believed in life after death, and used arrows more for hunting than for war. Between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries the Diaguitas invaded from the northeast. Then the Chinchas and Quechuas brought the more advanced civilization of farming, mining, and industry from the north. The Quechuas conquered the Chinchas. In the middle of the 15th century the Incas used the Quechuas to organize bureaucracy for the collecting of annual tribute in northern Chile. Fernando Magallanes (Ferdinand Magellan) discovered the southern straits named after him in 1520 and the island Tierra de Fuego. In 1535 Diego Almagro in Cusco equipped five hundred Spaniards and thousands of native servants for a difficult expedition across the mountains in which ten thousand lost their lives. They established a headquarters in Aconcagua and were supplied by ships. After a hard winter and not finding gold, they decided to return, forcing more natives to carry their supplies until they dropped dead.
      In 1539 Francisco Pizarro appointed Pedro de Valdivia his lieutenant-governor in Chile. He gathered 150 Spaniards and three thousand Yanaconas (native auxiliaries) that included families, though the only Spanish woman was Valdivia’s companion Ines Suarez. In 1540 they marched to the valley of Copiapo. Valdivia promised friendship to those who did not resist but extermination to enemies. On 12 February 1541 he founded a city named Santiago de Nueva Extremadura, claiming from Copiapo to the Strait of Magellan. The cacique Michimalonco organized resistance in the valley of Aconcagua and killed soldiers guarding the gold miners. In September the Araucanians attacked and burned the town. Valdivia sent for help, and a hundred men arrived with more supplies by ship at the end of 1543. Juan Bohon founded the city of La Serena with thirteen citizens. In 1544 Valdivia assigned sixty large portions of land to his captains and others. Needing more men, he went back to Peru, embarking at Valparaiso. Valdivia sent another hundred men, and the royal envoy named him governor of Chile. Indians had destroyed La Serena, and Francisco de Aguirre rebuilt it in 1549. Valdivia arrived with 200 soldiers and founded Concepcion near the Biobio River on 3 March 1550. In the Araucanian territory he named a city after himself, and Captain Jeronimo de Alderete founded Villarrica.
      Spaniards seemed to have conquered Chile with less than a thousand men. They fought the fierce Araucanian warriors and with cannons and horses forced them to flee; but after Valdivia cut off the hands and noses of their prisoners, they sought revenge. The elder sage Colocolo persuaded the Araucanians to unite against the Spaniards with Caupolican as general. Valdivia had made the young Araucanian Lautaro his page, but he went back to his tribe in 1553 and helped Caupolican defeat and kill all the Spaniards at Fort Tucapel; Valdivia was captured, dismembered, and eaten. Francisco de Villagra took command but was defeated by Lautaro’s forces with nearly a hundred killed. After the towns of Valdivia and Concepcion were attacked, Peru’s viceroy Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza appointed his son Garcia governor and sent him with 350 men. Villagra tried to rebuild Concepcion; but Lautaro attacked them again, and the Spaniards fled to Santiago in 1555. Villagra’s troops killed Lautaro in a surprise attack on his camp in April 1557. Garcia de Mendoza arrived in early 1557 but stayed on the island of Quiriquina for months until it was safe. Then his men built a fort that was attacked by the chieftain Caupolican. Hundreds of Araucanians were killed by cannons and shots. Finally the Spaniards defeated Caupolican and his men in swampy Lagunillas. Garcia ordered Concepcion resettled and founded Cañete. The Araucanians fought back again, but their prisoners were brutally killed. After Caupolican was tortured and killed in Cañete, the war in Chile ended in 1558. In less than a decade a million Araucanians had been reduced to about 400,000 by war, famine, and a smallpox epidemic.
      Alonso de Ercilla y Zuñiga was born in Madrid on 11 August 1533 to aristocratic parents. He studied Latin and the classics at Bobadilla, and at the age of fifteen he became a page at the court of young Felipe II. Ercilla was with the prince in England in 1553 when Jeronimo de Alderete brought news of the Araucanian rebellion in Chile. Ercilla enlisted as a captain under Alderete and was in Peru by 1556. During one of their tournaments he disputed with another officer and placed his hand on his sword in the presence of General Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza; for this offense he was nearly beheaded, but a Spanish lady pleaded for the lives of the two officers. Ercilla was compelled to leave Chile in 1558 and returned to Spain in 1561. He interviewed people and wrote the first part of his epic poem La Araucana and dedicated it to Felipe II, who approved its publication in 1569. Using his notes made during the war, Ercilla completed Part 2 of La Araucana in 1578 and Part 3 in 1589. In his prolog he described it as an authentic history of the war, and he apologized for treating the Araucanians as heroic figures fighting to defend their freedom from the invading Spaniards. In this emergency even their women went to war as the Araucanians fought heroically to the death. His long poem was written in the tradition of Virgil’s Aeneid and Lucan’s Civil War, and it is considered one of the first great works of Latin American literature as the national epic of Chile.
      Garcia de Mendoza followed the advice of Licentiate Hernando de Santillan by implementing an ordinance in 1559 to reduce the excessive work and bad treatment imposed on the natives, but each encomienda had to provide one Indian for every six in the tribe to work in the mines and one in five for the fields. Garcia had arrested Villagra and sent him to Lima; but King Felipe II removed Hurtado de Mendoza and his son Garcia for having executed people without due process of law, and Felipe appointed Villagra governor of Chile. The Araucanians learned how to use horses and continued fighting, forcing Peru to supply Chile with soldiers. Francis Drake raided Valparaiso in 1578.

      In the arid region the Diaguitas ate corn (maize), peas, gourds, fruit, and prickly pears, and for warfare they used bows and arrows, slings, and hatchets. In the forests of Chaco and Formosa the Malacos-Mataguayos, Chorotes, Guaycurues, and Chiriguanos hunted, fished, and made textiles. On the plains were the Araucanians, Querandies, and Puelcheans. In the southern archipelago were the nomadic Onas and Yamanas.
      Sebastian Cabot had a fort built on the Rio de la Plata in 1527. In 1534 King Carlos (Charles) V signed a contract with Almagro for Chile and with Pedro de Mendoza for the La Plata region. Mendoza was delayed by illness and reached Rio de Janeiro in November 1535 with eleven ships and 1,200 men. The small ships entered the Rio de la Plata River in February 1536 and founded a town named Buenos Aires for its “good airs.” In a battle natives killed Admiral Diego Mendoza and thirty Spaniards. After Juan de Ayolas went up the Parani River to found Corpus Christi, 12,000 Indians attacked and burned the fort at Buenos Aires. Pedro de Mendoza died of illness in June 1537 and was succeeded by Ayolas, who founded Asuncion up the river. There Ruiz Galan said he represented Pedro de Mendoza and clashed with Domingo Martínez de Irala, who supported Ayolas. In September a cédula authorized assembled colonists to elect a new leader in case the old one had not named a representative. Irala had a document authorizing him and took command in 1539. He moved the colonists from Buenos Aires to Asuncion, and natives destroyed Buenos Aires in 1541.
      Irala developed good relations with the Guarani natives, and this policy was continued in 1542 by his successor, the adventurous Cabeza de Vaca, who made peace with twenty chief Guaycurues. The next year he led an expedition up the Paraguay River with 400 Spaniards and 1,200 Indian allies in ten ships and 120 canoes. The natives and common soldiers liked Cabeza, but the officers resented his strict discipline. After he refused to let them keep a hundred native girls given them by their parents, they imprisoned Cabeza when he was sick and deported him to Spain, where in 1551 he was sentenced to forced labor in Algeria. Cabeza successfully appealed this, but he was banned from the new world and published his account in 1555. Irala resumed the governorship, and in 1545 he led an expedition that killed two thousand hostile natives and enslaved 12,000, mostly women and children. Irala traveled as far as Cuzco in 1548 and met with the royal commissioner Pedro de la Gasca. Gonzalo de Mendoza led some mutineers back to Asuncion, where Irala had appointed Captain Francisco de Mendoza. However, the inhabitants elected Diego de Abreu. When Mendoza tried to lead an uprising, Abreu had him beheaded. When Irala returned, Abreu was executed. Irala allotted 26,000 natives as repartimientos to colonists and governed Paraguay until he died of fever in 1556.
      Paraguay’s first bishop arrived in 1555. Irala’s successor Gonzalo de Mendoza sent Nuño de Chaves, who founded Santa Cruz de la Sierra in 1561. Mendoza died that year, and another son-in-law of Irala named Ortiz de Vergara became governor; but Viceroy López de Zúñiga of Peru replaced him with Juan Ortiz de Zarate, and by agreement he encouraged the importation of farmers, cattle, horses, and sheep. Francisco de Aguirre sent Diego Villarroel to found San Miguel de Tucuman in 1565, and in 1570 Fray Fernando de Trejo became the first bishop of Tucuman. The Franciscan Francisco Solano was so successful at converting natives with kindness and music that he was later canonized. The Chiriguanos destroyed two forts of the Spaniards, and in 1567 they pillaged Chibcha villages. After being told by thirty Chiriguanos that they had been converted by Santiago (saint James), Peru viceroy Toledo realized it was a ruse and led a large army against them in 1574; but the Spaniards were devastated by hunger and disease and had to retreat. In 1573 Jeronimo Luis de Cabrera founded Cordoba on the central plain. That year Juan de Garay founded Santa Fe with nine Spaniards and 75 Creoles born in the new world.

Rio de la Plata 1580-1744

      In 1580 Juan de Garay went to the abandoned Buenos Aires and planned to rebuild the city. Three years later the Creoles elected Juan Fernandez de Enciso the successor of Garay. In 1584 the Chiriguanos destroyed the fort at La Laguna, and they would continue to resist the Spaniards from their cordillera hideouts for the next three centuries. In 1587 the audiencia of Charcas prohibited the governor from appointing relatives to government positions, and in 1588 the cabildo (council) of Buenos Aires made Cordoba governor Ramírez de Velazco respect the elections. In 1592 Fernando Trejo y Sanabria became bishop of Tucuman and defended the rights of the natives. In 1596 Tucuman governor Ramírez de Velazco reported that 200,000 Indians had been converted with 56,500 allotted to encomiendas. The native men had to provide their labor to the encomenderos while the women were required to spin one ounce of cotton per day. Velazco’s authority was extended over all of Paraguay, though he delegated it to Hernando Arias de Saavedra, who in December 1597 was named governor by Viceroy Luis de Velasco at Lima. A royal cedula in 1595 authorized Pedro Gomez Reynel to import six hundred Africans annually to Rio de la Plata for nine years

   After another governor died in 1600 and was succeeded by his lieutenant governor, Hernando Arias de Saavedra became governor of Paraguay again in 1602 when a royal ordinance permitted colonial products to be exported to Brazil and Guinea. Believing it was better to convert the natives than to exterminate them, Saavedra appealed to King Felipe (Philip) III who in 1608 authorized the Order of Jesus to enter the province of Gayra. Two Italian Jesuits arrived two years later, and under a new governor they began their work at Loreto in an experiment called a “reduction” in which the natives practiced self-government. The Jesuits soon came into conflict with the settlers who were exploiting native labor. In 1611 Licentiate Francisco de Alvaro passed ordinances that replaced personal service with tribute, though thirty days service was still allowed.
      After an interval of five years Saavedra was appointed governor for the third time in 1614. Three years later the Rio de la Plata territory was divided between Asuncion (Paraguay) and Buenos Aires. Perez de Salazar was governor of Buenos Aires and established a custom-house at Cordoba in 1622. Jacinto de Lariz became governor in 1646, but he was considered unscrupulous. In 1661 Felipe IV decreed an audiencia tribunal for Río de la Plata, Paraguay, and Tucumán in order to curtail contraband trade and protect Peru’s monopoly, but it was suppressed after a decade. Governor Juan Martínez Salazar (1663-74) worked for free trade.
      Bishop Fernando Trejo of Tucuman founded a Jesuit college at Cordoba in 1612. Governor Felipe de Albornoz offended Calchaquian chiefs in Tucuman by punishing them, and their war of rebellion lasted ten years. In 1644 imperious Bishop Bernardino de Cardenas of Paraguay excommunicated Governor Gregorio de Hinistrosa, and in turn the Governor banished Cardenas. After Hinistrosa died in 1648, the people chose Cardenas to be governor. He demanded that the Jesuits surrender and sacked their college. For this the Audiencia of Charcas denounced Cardenas, and the next year he was deposed and banished by the Grand Council of Peru, which also recalled the Jesuits to Asuncion.
      In 1655 Tucuman governor Alonzo Mercado y Villacorta believed the promises of secret treasure made by Pedro Bohórquez, who called himself Hualpa Inca and became chief of the Calchaquians. Conflict arose, and the forces of Tucuman, Jujuy, and Salta defeated the Calchaquians. The Viceroy of Peru pardoned Bohórquez; but after he incited the Calchaquians again, he was executed in January 1667.
      In 1661 Felipe IV decreed an audiencia tribunal for Río de la Plata, Paraguay, and Tucumán in order to curtail contraband trade and protect Peru’s monopoly, but it was suppressed in 1671. Governor Juan Martínez Salazar (1663-74) worked for free trade.
      Governor Mercado y Villacorta finally pacified the Calchaquians by distributing them to various villages. Manuel Mercadillo became bishop of Tucuman, and in 1678 he transferred the cathedral seat to Cordoba. Fernando de Mendoza Mate de Luna became governor of Tucuman in 1681 and founded Catamarca two years later. He sent Jesuit missionaries into the Chaco forests, and three of his successors sent military expeditions.
      In 1705 Col. Baltazar Garcia Ros captured the Portuguese colony of Colonia de Sacramento, but it was returned by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The Jesuits introduced printing in 1703, and in 1724 Arte de la lengua Guarani by Antonio Ruiz de Montoya was published. Their college at Cordoba became a university. In 1720 registered ships were permitted to sail directly to other American ports, and in 1735 South America abandoned the fleet system.
      In 1717 Viceroy Carmine Nicolas Caracciolo of Peru appointed Diego de los Reyes Balmaceda governor of Paraguay; but he was unpopular and was investigated in 1721 by Jose de Antequera, who was supported by the comuneros, challenged royal authority, and imprisoned Reyes Balmaceda. The Viceroy repudiated this, but Antequera organized a military force and sent Reyes Balmaceda to Asuncion as a prisoner. Meanwhile Buenos Aires governor Bruno Mauricio de Zabala had sent troops to defend Montevideo against the Portuguese. The Jesuits had sided with Reyes Balmaceda, and Antequera expelled them from Asuncion. The royalist forces led by Garcia Ros were defeated by Antequera and returned to Buenos Aires. In 1724 the new viceroy Jose de Armendariz ordered Governor Zabala to drive out Antequera or send him to Lima for trial. Antequera was deserted by his followers and fled in March 1725 to a convent in Cordoba before being arrested at Chuquisaca in Charcas and taken to Lima. Fernando Mompo was influenced by Antequera in prison, and in 1730 he started a revolt in Asuncion by suggesting that the community was more powerful than the king and should govern. The comuneros militia resisted the next governor sent by Viceroy Armendariz and detained the town council (cabildo), shouting that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Antequera was eventually brought to trial in Lima and was executed in 1731.

      Martin de Barua became governor of Paraguay and allowed the Jesuits to return again. They formed their own army of native workers. Barua was replaced by Manuel de Ruiloba, who was supported by the missions. He tried to enhance his authority by disbanding the comuneros, causing a civil war that cost him his life in December 1733. The rebels elected visiting Buenos Aires bishop Juan de Arregui governor and made him issue a confiscation decree against the Jesuits and the remaining royalists. He nominated Cristoval Dominguez de Obelar to succeed him as governor and went back to his episcopal duties in Buenos Aires. Zabala had been promoted to the presidency of the Charcas Audiencia, and his troops scattered the undisciplined comuneros. He entered Asuncion in triumph, and once again the Jesuits regained their resented influence. Governor Miguel de Salcedo (1734-42) besieged Colonia and tried to stop contraband trade, but he was eventually removed for incompetence.

Rio de la Plata 1744-1810

      Montevideo was founded in 1729 and gained its own jurisdiction with its first governor in 1751. The exchange treaty of 1750 traded Colonia de Sacramento back to the Portuguese for the seven eastern Parana missions with their 30,000 inhabitants. The Jesuits petitioned the Spanish government to give up the agreement. This was rejected, and they instigated a revolt by the missions, provoking the Guarani War in 1754. When Carlos III (r. 1759-88) became king of Spain, the exchange treaty was finally abandoned. In 1762 Governor Pedro Cevallos of Buenos Aires used subsidies from Peru and Potosi to form an army of 6,000 to besiege the Portuguese at Colonia, and the comuneros of Corrientes deserted. After he tried to punish some of them in 1764, they revolted and imprisoned Lieutenant Governor Manuel de Rivera, replacing him with the cabildo. The population of the fifteen Jesuit missions increased from about 42,000 in 1750 to about 50,000 in 1768. In 1767 Carlos III ordered all Jesuits expelled from Spain and the Indies. Governor Francisco de Paula Bucareli had the Jesuits seized and taken to Buenos Aires, and they were deported in May 1768.
      In 1752 Indian attacks caused massacres and cattle losses that stimulated the vecinos of Buenos Aires to call an open assembly (cabildo abierto). They organized a permanent rural militia paid for by taxing hide exports, mule trains, and ox carts. By the late 1760s the militias were operating, and work on a line of forts had begun. Spanish merchants in Buenos Aires campaigned to end the subordination to Lima and to abolish trade restrictions. A few families established land dynasties. Juan Esteban de Anchorena arrived in 1765 and became wealthy by selling slaves and trading contraband. By that year Buenos Aires had about 5,500 soldiers. Military subsidies from Potosi went from 13,000 pesos in 1750 to 650,000 in 1775. Comunero movements asserted their traditional liberties and prerogatives in Catamarca in 1752, in La Rioja in 1758, and in Corrientes in 1765.
      The French had settled on the Falkland Islands in 1764 to promote fishing and whaling, but Spain claimed the islands and compensated the French. In 1766 the English founded the colony of Port Egmont on the Falkland Islands, but Governor Bucarelli of Buenos Aires forced them out. The English complained to the Spanish court and returned in 1771, but they abandoned Port Egmont three years later.
      Spain’s King Carlos III appointed Pedro Antonio de Cevallos the first viceroy of Rio de la Plata in 1776, and in October he sailed from Cadiz with 116 ships and 9,000 men and spent the winter in Buenos Aires. On April 22, 1777 he landed in Montevideo with 9,316 men and marched to Colonia de Sacramento. Then Cevallos invaded Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, and the Portuguese surrendered Santa Catarina Island. In July he ordered the silver coins from the Potosi mint to go directly to Buenos Aires instead of to Lima. The Treaty of San Ildefonso signed October 1 secured Santa Catarina and large interior frontiers for the Portuguese. Cevallos returned to Buenos Aires on October 15 and proclaimed labor regulations and freedom of trade in November. The officers were legally represented in the Cabildo, which handled requests and complaints from the inhabitants. Peru’s Viceroy Guirior protested this new viceroyalty, but the royal treasury funded the intendancy of the army in March 1778 at Buenos Aires. The province of Buenos Aires already had a population of 37,000, and by the end of the century it would triple. The annual export of hides went from an average of 150,000 before 1778 to 1,400,000 in 1783.
      Juan Jose Vertiz was appointed viceroy of Rio de la Plata in June 1778, and he implemented liberal reforms. He sent pioneers instead of troops into the desert and tried to protect the frontiers with new forts. He improved public works in paving, lighting, and cleaning the city and established an orphanage, a hospital, a new school, and the Colegio de San Carlos. Vertiz promoted tolerant education, and profits from printing and theater supported charitable hospitals. Under the viceroyalty manufacturing that competed with Spain was still prohibited, and by 1780 tobacco and playing-cards had become royal monopolies. He had to quell the great Indian revolt from 1780 to 1783. Spain had joined the victorious alliance with the United States in 1782, and after the peace of 1783 immigration from Spain increased. That year the viceroyalty was organized into eight new jurisdictions with four intendancies in Upper Peru, one in Paraguay, and three centered on Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Salta del Tucuman. These were intended to unify Spanish rule, but they actually increased regional and local feelings.
      Nicolas del Campo, Marquis of Loreto, was viceroy 1784-89. The royal audiencia was installed in 1785, and he promoted the cattle industry that was expanded by salting meat. In the next ten years 185,000 quintales of jerked beef were exported. While Nicolas de Arredondo was viceroy 1789-95, numerous ports were permitted to import African slaves without paying a duty. In 1793 farmers petitioned Carlos III not to hinder their exports. In 1794 the tribunal (consulado) of commerce was established in Buenos Aires, and Arredondo sent colonists to the Patagonian coast and promoted whaling and fishing with a company given royal privileges. In 1797 an equal number of grazers and farmers (hacendados) were added. Yet Buenos Aires suffered a commercial depression in the late 1790s, and prices of imported linen, wine, and vegetable oils increased sharply from 1797 to 1799. Buenos Aires was allowed to export jerked beef to British colonies in the Caribbean and to import sugar and manufactured goods. Most of the slave ships now came from Brazil.
      Rio de la Plata had five different viceroys in the next twelve years. Arredondo was dismissed on March 16, 1795, but Pedro de Melo continued his policies until his death on April 15, 1797. Antonio Olaguer Fellu had governed Montevideo since 1790. He became viceroy in 1797 and then returned to Spain in 1799. Manuel Belgrano was influenced by the educational doctrines of Count Pedro Rodriguez Campomanes and believed in free education that is practical. In 1799 Belgrano helped found schools of navigation and design, and he planned others in agriculture, commerce, and chemistry. Gabriel de Avilés moved from being governor of Chile to be viceroy of Rio de la Plata 1799-1801 before his promotion as viceroy of Peru. Joaquin del Pino had governed Montevideo for seventeen years before moving on to Chile in 1790 and becoming viceroy of Rio de la Plata 1801-04. He was considered an enlightened ruler who carried out public works such as expanding the port. He appointed Santiago de Liniers to govern the missions, but he was removed on July 6, 1802 for failing to provide the necessary supplies. Buenos Aires suffered another commercial recession. In 1801 Francisco Antonio de Azcuenaga published the first periodical in Rio de la Plata, and the next year Hipolito Vieytes started publishing an agricultural weekly that continued until February 1807 when the English invaded Montevideo.
      Lazaro Ribera Espinosa (1796-1806) governed Paraguay and was considered especially corrupt and tyrannical. He let his favorites monopolize commerce and allowed the Creoles few rights. In 1803 King Carlos IV (r. 1788-1808) decreed the land between the Parana and Uruguay rivers a separate province, and Viceroy Pino appointed Bernardo Velasco governor of Buenos Aires. Two years later the Crown made Velasco governor of Paraguay as well.
      Rafael de Sobremonte was viceroy of Rio de la Plata 1804-07. In October 1804 a British squadron captured four Spanish ships going from Argentina to Cadiz with nearly five million pesos of silver. English ships brought 1,560 soldiers under General William C. Beresford and took over Buenos Aires on June 27, 1806. He immediately proclaimed that the administration of justice would protect private property, the Catholic religion, and freedom of commerce. A thousand peasants led by the Creole Juan Martin de Pueyrredon revolted, but they were defeated at Perdriel by the British troops. Santiago Liniers was given a thousand soldiers by Montevideo’s Governor Ruiz Huidobro, and peasants joined them. They attacked Buenos Aires on August 12 and suffered 200 casualties while killing or wounding 300 English; 1,200 British surrendered, and Beresford was imprisoned.
      An open Cabildo declared Santiago Liniers the lieutenant of the Viceroy Marquis of Sobremonte. Because the army of Rio de la Plata had only 2,400 men, a citizen militia was quickly formed with five battalions of Creoles and four of Spaniards in Buenos Aires. General Baird sent 1,300 men from the Cape of Good Hope to seize Maldonado, and with forces led by General Samuel Auchmuty they captured Montevideo on February 3, 1807. One week later the open Cabildo in Buenos Aires deposed Sobremonte, and Liniers replaced him. Bradford in May began editing the English weekly Star of the South, which also appeared in Spanish as Estrella del Sud.
      General John Whitelocke left a thousand men to guard Montevideo and attacked Buenos Aires with 11,000 soldiers on June 28. Liniers left 1,600 Creole soldiers in the city and sallied forth with 7,000 Creoles, who were routed by General Gower’s division. However, the people rallied, and alcalde Martin Alzaga fortified the city and defeated the forces of General Whitelocke, who surrendered and evacuated both Buenos Aires and Montevideo. In November 1808 Liniers ended the restrictions on imported British goods, and the increased trade improved the economy. However, the monopoly faction led by Martin de Alzaga turned against Liniers and accused him of being an agent for the French. He called for a cabildo abierto and a junta to replace the viceroy. His followers attempted a coup and rebelled against Liniers, but they were defeated on January 1, 1809. By 1809 the populations of Tucuman and Cuyo had expanded to about 250,000 with 60,000 in the region of Cordoba, 40,000 in Santiago del Estero, 30,000 in San Miguel, and 24,000 in Catamarca.
      The junta of Seville, which was still resisting the French, sent Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros to replace Liniers as viceroy, and he arrived in August 1809. He reversed Liniers’ trade policies, and revenues declined. British asked to resume landing their goods, and Cisneros submitted the proposal to the Cabildo which was divided on the issue. Mariano Moreno anonymously wrote the Representacion de los Hacendados for the local cattle ranchers advocating free trade as explained by Adam Smith for a two-year trial period.
      In January 1810 Manuel Belgrano began publishing the Correo de Comercio to promote trade and revolution. News of French victories in Spain arrived in March, and the militia leader Cornelio de Saavedra decided to convoke a cabildo abierto and replace the viceroy with a junta. News of Seville’s fall arrived at Buenos Aires on May 14, and Viceroy Cisneros agreed to convoke a cabildo abierto because he was promised he would be the head of the new junta.

Chile 1744-1817

      The government of Chile monopolized tobacco commerce in 1753. They began building the University of San Felipe at Santiago in 1738, but teaching (mostly law and theology) did not begin until 1758. Crime was a major problem, and Manuel de Amat severely punished a rebellion by prisoners in Santiago. He then established a police force for the city that was extended to all of Chile in 1758.
      Chile experienced another major uprising in 1766, and the government expelled 300 Jesuits in 1768. The first coins used in Chile were pesos in 1750, and the mint became a royal service in 1772. Agustin de Jauregui was Captain-general and Royal Governor 1772-80, and in his first year he enforced strict laws and reformed tax collection. He invited Araucanian chiefs to Santiago in 1774. They agreed on peace and established a school for Indians; but they were not allowed advanced instruction, and the school was moved to Chillan in 1780. He started the postal service in 1775. The next year the province of Cuyo was transferred from Chile to the new viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. A large demonstration in the plaza of Santiago in July 1776 persuaded Governor Jauregui to reform taxes, and he initiated a militia system in 1777. Chile was made a captaincy-general in 1778. That year Convictorio Carolino replaced the main Jesuit college. Jauregui became viceroy of Peru in 1780 and was succeeded in Chile by Tomas Alvarez de Acevedo for five months and then Ambrosio de Benavides from December 1780 to 1787.
      The “conspiracy of the three Antonios” to make Chile independent of Spain that included chemist Jose Antonio Rojas and the two French Antoines Gramuset and Berney failed in 1780. Berney had been unjustly dismissed from the Colegio Carolino, and he drafted a constitution that called for a republic based on “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do not to another what you do not wish him to do to you.” A senate would be elected by the people, including Araucanians. The death penalty, slavery, and social classes were to be abolished, and free trade was to extend to all nations including the Chinese and Africans. The document concluded that Chileans had decided to separate themselves from Spain and become an independent republic. The lawyer Mariana Perez de Saravia supported the project and sent a letter to Tomas Alvarez de Acevedo, the regent of the Audiencia. Benavides arrested the conspirators on January 1, 1781. Berney and Gramuset were tried secretly and imprisoned; but Rojas was too well known, and so his charges were dropped. The planned revolution was unknown to most Chileans until historians discovered it much later. In 1787 a new system of intendencias was introduced with powerful officials who received annual salaries of 10,000 pesos.
      Ambrosio O’Higgins was born in Ireland and came to Chile as an engineer and worked his way up to colonel in the militia, Intendant of Concepcion, Chile’s President (1788-96), and then was Viceroy of Peru until he died in 1801. He abolished encomiendas in 1791 and gave the natives small parcels of land. A Commercial Tribunal (consulado) was established at Santiago in 1795, and the Academia de San Luis was founded in 1797. After 1798 Chile was no longer under the administration of Peru. A militia had replaced the army in the last third of the century and required 250,000 pesos from the 600,000 pesos in the budget that came mostly from the tobacco monopoly, customs duties, and a sales tax. When the Spaniards first invaded Chile in 1541, the native population was estimated to be at least a half million. By the end of the 18th century Chile had about 200,000 Spaniards (including Creoles born in America) and about 300,000 mestizos, most of whom worked in the fields. Living among these Europeans were about 20,000 African slaves and mulattoes and only about 2,000 Indians. At least 100,000 Araucanians lived in the interior not controlled by the Spaniards.
      In 1808 news that King Carlos IV and his hated minister Godoy had been replaced by his son Fernando VII was welcomed in Chile, but France’s Napoleon took over in May and appointed his brother Joseph to govern the Spanish empire. The elderly brigadier Garcia Carrasco governed Chile with the help of his secretary Juan Martinez de Rozas who was one of the twelve auxiliary councilors he appointed. On January 22, 1809 a famous decree from Spain called for Americans to participate in the Central Junta by sending representatives. A smuggling scandal with the ship Scorpion damaged Carrasco and Rozas. Carrasco expelled 79 foreigners out of fear of revolution; but this provoked protests in Santiago’s Cabildo. On February 14, 1810 the liberal poet Manuel Jose de Quintana wrote the decree that announced installation of the Cortes soon and the need for America to send deputies.
      On April 17 Viceroy Cisneros of the Rio Plata warned Governor Carrasco that Chile had subversive groups advocating independence. On May 24 Carrasco declared that those favoring independence and liberty were trying to cause insubordination and were following the bad examples of La Paz, Quito, and Charcas. The next day he arrested Jose Antonio de Rojas, Juan Antonio Ovalle, and Bernardo de Vera y Pintado. When Carrasco sent the prisoners to Peru, demonstrations erupted. Chileans were inspired by the May revolution in Buenos Aires, and the Buenos Aires government sent a letter to Santiago in August urging them to organize a “legitimate representative authority. Carrasco was deposed on July 16.
      Bernardo O’Higgins was the son of Ambrosio O’Higgins and a Chilean mother, and he was educated in England where he was influenced by Francisco de Miranda in 1798. He returned to Chile in 1802, and in 1810 he joined Rozas and raised a militia force for the Junta. The anonymous Catecismo politico cristiano in 1810 criticized commercial monopolies, excessive taxation, and poor education, and the author advocated independent institutions and republican government, writing,

The people, which has conferred the right of command
on the King can, like any constituent party,
revoke its powers and name other guardians
who better correspond to the public good.1

      In 1810 Juan Egaña wrote his Plan of Government that advocated free trade to benefit local economies and a conference to organize a defensive federation of the American colonies. In 1811 he was elected deputy for Melipilla to the first National Congress and with Camilo Henriquez drafted a constitution for Chile. On October 24 Egaña presented his memorandum on education to the Congress. Egaña became president of the Senate in 1812 and helped create the Instituto Nacional de Chile in 1813.
      On August 14, 1810 Jose Miguel Infante, the procurador of the Santiago Cabildo, criticized the Council of Regency. The 80-year-old Count Toro Zambrano called a Cabildo Abierto on September 18, and Infante gave a speech in which he affirmed the right of a Spanish province to set up a junta under the supreme authority of the Council of Regency. The Cabildo elected Count Toro Zambrano president of the First Junta, which had five creoles and two Spaniards. They formed a patriot battalion, bought arms from England, and founded a munitions factory. Julio Alemparte argued that the American Cabildos were bridges for revolution. In December the Junta decreed the expansion of the army. Rozas on February 21, 1811 opened the ports with a 30% duty on all imports that began taking in revenue for the government. Toro Zambrano died on February 26 and was succeeded by Rozas. By March all the major cities except Santiago and Valparaiso had elected 36 representatives. To stop the elections in Santiago the Audiencia Real (appellate court) instigated a revolt led by Col. Tomas de Figueroa on April 1. This failed; he was executed, and the Audiencia was dissolved. On May 1 the deputies met, and Rozas persuaded the Junta to become an assembly. However, a majority cancelled his policies and appointed conservative administrators and judges.
      Chile’s first National Congress opened on July 4, 1811, but it was dominated by the conservatives led by the Larrain family. The members swore to protect the Catholic religion, obey Fernando VII, and defend Chile. Rozas resigned but led those favoring a republic. In 1811 Coquimbo and Concepcion became separate provinces. The moderate Fray Joaquin Larrain led a revolution on September 4 and became head of the National Congress four days later until October 12. Chile had about 5,000 slaves who worked mostly as domestics and artisans for the wealthy. The educator Manuel de Salas persuaded the Congress to pass a law on October 11 to abolish the slave trade in Chile and to free all children born of slaves and any slave coming into Chile and staying more than six months.
      Jose Miguel Carrera had fought against Napoleon in Spain, and he came back to Chile and with a third group gained control of Congress with the help of his two brothers. Carrera led a junta with Bernardo O’Higgins and another who were reluctant to join him. On November 15, 1811 a revolt threatened them, and Carrera took dictatorial power. Mackenna was arrested, and Carrera sent O’Higgins to mediate between Rozas and the Larrain elders. Rozas refused to recognize his authority in Concepcion, and Carrera sent troops. They met and came to terms, but Carrera banished Rozas in 1812. That year Carrera established a liberal constitution for Chile, dissolved the Audiencia, and made September 18 a holiday. The famous fifth article stated that no decree or law issued from outside of Chile would have any effect, and those trying to implement it would be punished. They still recognized King Fernando VII to gain time for the revolution. Carrera founded the Instituto Nacional de Chile and the National Library. Friar Camilo Henriquez edited Chile’s first newspaper, La Aurora de Chile.
      In February 1813 during the Spanish reconquest Viceroy Jose Fernando de Abascal of Peru sent a force of 2,400 men led by Brigadier Antonio Pareja to force the insurgents in southern Chile to submit to Spanish rule. They sailed south, took Concepcion, and advanced north up the central valley gaining 600 more men and 2,000 militia in a civil war. Carrera  organized resistance, but on April 27 the royalists defeated the Chileans at Yerbas Buenas near Linares. Carrera, his brothers, Bernardo O’Higgins, and Juan McKenna united with the radical patriots and fought the royalists in cruel conflicts. O’Higgins went to his estate at Las Canteras and raised 1,400 men in the Los Angeles area. Carrera besieged Chillan, and in fighting that followed the royalists burned Las Canteras. Carrera’s mistakes led to defeat in August; but O’Higgins and McKenna won battles, and O’Higgins took command of those fighting for independence on December 9.
      Only Concepcion remained under the royalists. Viceroy Abascal sent General Gavino Gainza to Chile, and he landed at Arauco on January 31, 1814. Gainza met with Mapuches on February 3, and their war chief Mañil provided 6,000 warriors. The Junta had to retreat from their capital at Talca which was taken on March 3. The next day the royalists captured Jose Miguel Carrera and his brother Luis Carrera. On March 7 the Cabildo Abierto in Santiago appointed Francisco de la Lastra as Supreme Director. Mackenna and O’Higgins joined forces on March 23 and  marched to keep Gainza’s royalists out of Santiago. By April 5 both armies were exhausted. The British captain James Hillyar mediated a treaty by the Lircay River on May 3, 1814. Chileans got some autonomy and open trade but had to recognize the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and the sovereignty of King Fernando VII. Spanish forces left the province of Concepcion, and deputies were to be sent to the Spanish Cortes. This compromise was resented by both sides. Viceroy Abascal was furious and court martialed Gainza in Lima, replacing him with Mariano Osorio.
      The Carrera brothers escaped from the royalists and achieved another military coup in Santiago, putting Jose Miguel Carrera in charge again. He banished McKenna and ordered O’Higgins to submit. The latter was preparing to fight Luis Carrera; but Viceroy Abascal repudiated the peace treaty and sent another force from Peru under General Mariano Osorio that landed in the south. Carrera and O’Higgins agreed to fight for Chile together. Juan Jose Carrera’s contingent fled from Osorio’s army into Rancagua. O’Higgins bravely entered Rancagua on September 30 to defend it, but Jose Miguel Carrera declined to relieve them. Osorio attacked with twice as many men and defeated them on October 2, 1814. O’Higgins and Carrera fled with 500 men across the Andes to Mendoza where Jose de San Martin governed Cuyo and had formed an alliance with the Araucanians.
      General Osorio led the royalists into Santiago on October 5 and was made governor by Viceroy Abascal. Radical leaders and even the moderate Joaquin Larrain were banished to the island of Juan Fernandez for three years. Property was confiscated or destroyed, and forced loans were exacted. The Audiencia and the Inquisition were revived, and free trade was squelched. Luis Carrera went to meet Juan Mackenna in Buenos Aires but killed him in a duel in November. Mackenna had been mentor to O’Higgins, and this caused a blood feud. San Martin and Alvear had formed the Masonic Lautaro Lodge in Buenos Aires that was dedicated to independence in America.
      Osorio was succeeded by Marco del Pont on December 26, 1815. Manuel Rodriguez led guerrilla forces against this regime while Bernardo O’Higgins and refugees from Buenos Aires joined the army of General Jose de San Martin in February 1816. Pueyrredon made San Martin commander and captain-general of the Army of the Andes and sent him instructions for the expedition into Chile.

Argentine Revolution 1810-17

      The revolutionary open Cabildo met on May 22, 1810, and the conflict between free traders and the monopolists increased during the debates. The procurator Julian de Leiva managed to get the former viceroy Cisneros appointed president of the Junta and commander-in-chief. The other four members of the Junta were Cornelio de Saavedra, Juan Jose Castelli, and two peninsulares. On the 24th Leiva wrote a code for the Junta which left judicial power with the Royal Audiencia of Buenos Aires and required Cisneros to have support of other members of the Junta to act. The Cabildo’s consent was required for new taxes. The Junta would sanction a general amnesty for those who spoke at the open Cabildo, and the Junta would invite other cities to send delegates. Saavedra, Pedro Andrés Garcia, and the other commanders of the armed forces agreed to the code, and that afternoon the Junta took the oath of office.
      The next day on May 25 a crowd gathered in the Plaza de la Victoria with the militia and demanded that Cisneros resign and that a new junta be appointed. However, the Cabildo rejected the resignation of Cisneros and the change in the Junta. The demonstrators broke into the chapter house and demanded that the people elect the new junta rather than the Cabildo. A petition with 411 signatures was submitted. When the sun came out, people considered it an omen of revolution, and the Cabildo accepted the petition. The Primera Junta was formed with similar rules, and the new president Saavedra spoke to the crowd. The voting members were Dr. Castelli, Dr. Manuel Alberti, Dr. Manuel Belgrano, Col. Miguel de Azcuénaga, Domingo Matheu, and Juan Larrea with Dr. Juan Jose Paso and Dr. Mariano Moreno as secretaries. They were all from Buenos Aires at first, but they added representatives from other cities later, and it came to be called the Junta Grande. On June 2 Moreno signed a decree that founded the Gaceta de Buenos Aires, and the first issue was published five days later.
      Montevideo and Asuncion declined to join the new government of Buenos Aires and proclaimed their loyalty to Spain’s new Council of Regency which had replaced the fallen Junta of Seville. The opposition in Cordoba was led by the intendant Juan Gutiérrez de la Concha and the former viceroy Santiago Liniers, and they formed an army that allied with the Spanish army in Upper Peru led by General Jose Manuel de Goyeneche. These forces marched on Buenos Aires; but they were defeated in August 26, and the leaders were shot without a trial by the order of Secretary Moreno who advocated a declaration of independence and a republic with Buenos Aires in control and enforcing free trade. Ten members of the Cabildo had sworn allegiance to the Regency Council in July, and they were jailed on October 16. Moreno wanted to execute them, but Saavedra had them banished to Lujan, Ranchos, and Salto. Saavedra authorized the forming of provincial juntas in the interior, and late in 1810 military governors were sent to Corrientes, Entre Rios, and Santa Fe. On December 6 the Junta adopted a decree that abolished honors previously given to Saavedra and declared that all members of the Junta were equal. Moreno resigned, and on December 18 they formed the Junta Grande that lasted one year. In January 1811 the Junta formed a Committee of Public Safety to find opponents and receive information on counter-revolutionaries.
      Manuel Belgrano was appointed commander of an army that gathered support from Corrientes, Santa Fe, Paraguay, and Band Oriental. However, on July 24 the Junta in Paraguay also pledged allegiance to the Regency Council of Spain. Others in Paraguay supported the Junta Grande while a third group favored Paraguay’s independence. Belgrano led less than 200 men there, but volunteers increased his army to about 950. In late October his army settled a border dispute between Corrientes and Yapeyu. In November the army moved to the coast of Parana, and Belgrano proclaimed that the natives in the missions had full civil and political rights. The army went to Candelaria and crossed the Parana River; but they were outnumbered at the battle of Paraguari and eventually retreated. Belgrano had dispersed his forces and had only 400 men, and the armies of Yegros and Cabañas attacked with nearly 3,000 soldiers at Tacuari on March 9, 1811; finally Belgrano had only 235 men left and accepted an armistice.
      The military of Paraguay took over the government in Asuncion on May 14, 1811 and declared its independence from Spain. Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia was in the ruling Junta. On October 11 Paraguay formed a military alliance with Argentina which thus recognized Paraguay’s independence. Francia resigned from the Junta at the end of 1811, but the following November the Junta put him in charge of foreign policy with command over half the army and munitions. He gained control of the government and put off Argentina’s envoy Nicolas de Herrera in 1813. Two members of the Paraguay Junta who wanted union with Argentina were expelled. All the men in Paraguay were allowed to vote for the first Congress of 1,100 delegates that met on September 30, and they supported Francia’s independent foreign policy, rejected an invitation to attend a constitutional congress at Buenos Aires, and on October 12 established Paraguay as the first republic in Spanish America with Francia as first consul. He was supposed to alternate with the second consul Fulgencio Yegros every four months, but Yegros let Francia rule. In March 1814 Francia prohibited Spaniards from marrying each other; they could only wed Indians, Africans, or mulattoes. On October 1 the Congress voted to give him dictatorial powers for three years, and on June 1, 1816 they extended this to life.
      Juan Jose Castelli led the army of Buenos Aires that destroyed the resistance in Cordoba, marched through Tucuman, and up the altiplano. Volunteers joined them, and on November 7, 1810 they defeated the Spaniards north of Jujuy at Suipacha. They moved into Upper Peru (now Bolivia), and Castelli agreed to a peace with the Spaniards. However, Goyeneche gained reinforcements from Peru, and on June 20, 1811 they defeated the revolutionary army at Huaqui south of Lake Titicaca. Castelli’s surviving troops retreated to Tucuman.
      President Saavedra was often in conflict with the liberal Moreno who was sent on a diplomatic mission to England but died suspiciously on the voyage on March 4, 1811. Saavedra’s faction instigated a riot in Buenos Aires in April and banished Moreno’s followers. That allowed Saavedra to resign and take control of the army of the North. The Junta Grande was dissolved and replaced on September 23 with a triumvirate that was controlled by the Junta Conservadora. The First Triumvirate was the lawyer Feliciano Chiclana, Juan Jose Paso, and Manuel de Sarratea. Although the First Triumvirate lasted less than thirteen months, they declared freedom of the press, approved a law of individual security, created a chamber of appeals, and regulated the administration of justice. Their secretary Bernardino Rivadavia created maritime insurance to promote trade, a discount bank in Buenos Aires, new meat-salting plants, and land development by European immigrants. On January 13, 1812 they created the Intendancy of the Buenos Aires Province, and on February 18 they approved the white and cerulean blue flag of the Argentine army. They sent Belgrano to protect Rosario from naval attacks by Spain and ordered Lt. Col. Jose de San Martin to form the Granaderos a Caballo cavalry. On September 4 they established the first Commission of Immigration.
      After the revolution of May 1810 Montevideo’s military governor Francisco Javier de Elio declared himself viceroy of Rio de la Plata, and the Junta at Cadiz in Spain confirmed this on January 19, 1811. He went to eliminate the Buenos Aires Junta and used naval forces to blockade the city, but his attempts to tax Montevideo provoked a rebellion in February in the Banda Oriental led by Jose Gervasio Artigas who was supported by 180 men from Buenos Aires. On April 11 he claimed control of the revolution in his Mercedes Proclamation. Elio sent the naval captain Jose Posadas with 1,230 men; but 200 of them defected as they were defeated by one thousand revolutionaries fighting for Artigas at the battle of Las Piedras on May 18. Elio was reinforced by a force from Spain that arrived in September. They forced Buenos Aires to accept a truce, and Artigas fled west into Entre Rios. Elio was left with only Montevideo and Colonia del Sacramento, and he went back to Spain in November and resigned as viceroy in January 1812. The British in Rio de Janeiro wanted to avoid a war on the Rio de la Plata that would interfere with commerce. In July the Portuguese withdrew, and Montevideo was besieged again. The loyalist Martin de Alzaga planned to take over the government in Buenos Aires; but their conspiracy was discovered, and on July 6 Alzaga and more than thirty of his followers were hanged.
      The terms of the three members of the First Triumvirate expired after one year, and people in Buenos Aires revolted against the appointment of anti-Morenist members. The military leaders Jose de San Martin and Carlos Maria de Alvear founded the Sociedad Patriotica and intervened on October 8 to allow the Buenos Aires Cabildo to elect the Second Triumvirate which called the Assembly of Year XIII which was inaugurated on January 31, 1813. The Second Triumvirate kept Paso from the First and added wealthy Nicolas Rodriguez Peña and the lawyer Antonio Alvarez Jonte. The Congress passed a law declaring that all children born after the date of the law were free citizens even if their parents were slaves. They abolished Indian servitude and tribute, and they ended the Spanish Inquisition and torture. They cancelled all titles of nobility and created a national currency.
      On 25 September 1812 Belgrano led the Army of the North with 1,800 men to victory over the 3,000 Spanish troops led by General Pio de Tristan near the city of San Miguel de Tucuman. The Spaniards suffered more than a thousand casualties, and Tristan retreated with his army to garrison Salta. Belgrano reinforced his army and improved discipline. On February 11, 1813 they swore an oath to be loyal to the Assembly of Year XIII. Nine days later Belgrano’s army of 3,000 defeated Tristan’s 3,400 soldiers at Salta. The Argentines had 103 killed; but 481 Spaniards died, and 2,776 prisoners were taken. The revolutionaries also captured ten cannons and 2,118 muskets. Belgrano granted amnesty to Tristan and released the prisoners. Belgrano established a base at Potosi in June with 2,500 soldiers, and he tried to improve relations with the natives that had been ruined by Castelli’s campaign. He planned to join with the armies of Cardenas and Zelaya, but the royalists defeated Cardenas and gained his plans. This enabled the Spaniards led by Pezuela to surprise Belgrano on October 1 at Vilcapugio and win a marginal victory. Belgrano got reinforcements at Cochabamba, but the Spaniards defeated him again at Ayohuma on November 14.
      Meanwhile on 3 February 1813 San Martin’s cavalry defeated a small force of Spaniards at San Lorenzo. The Second Triumvirate appointed San Martin general, but he did not take over Belgrano’s army until after his defeat in November. In April 1813 delegates from the eastern bank of the river inspired by Artigas demanded the Congress declare independence and create a republican constitution for a loose confederation in which provinces would elect their own governors and make treaties, but in June the Congress denied those representatives admission. Artigas renounced Buenos Aires and withdrew his troops from the siege of Montevideo. Congress declared him an enemy, and Artigas went to Entre Rios and Corrientes where they named him their protector.
      From 1806 to 1810 the government at Buenos Aires had received 1.1 million pesos in revenues from the interior, but the revolutionary government from 1810 to 1815 brought in only 180,000 pesos. During these wars some merchants profited by supplying the armies, but others suffered from labor shortages. The revolution had not abolished slavery, but leaders needing soldiers offered emancipation for enlistment.
      The Second Triumvirate ended on 22 January 1814, and nine days later the Assembly elected Gervasio Antonio de Posadas to be the first Supreme Director. He denounced Artigas as a traitor and put a price on his head. Posadas created a navy and appointed William Brown as chief commander. Their small fleet attacked Spanish ships off the coast of Montevideo and defeated them on May 17. This enabled Alvear’s army to force the 5,000 Spanish troops in Montevideo to surrender in late June. Artigas returned with an army, and after months of harassment Alvear withdrew his army. Artigas declared Montevideo the independent Eastern Province. This caused the fall of Posadas, and his nephew Alvear became the Supreme Director on 11January 1815. However, the troops objected, and on April 21 he was replaced by Ignacio Alvarez Thomas. Jose Rondeau commanded the Northern Army which rejected the return of Alvear. Rondeau led another campaign into Upper Peru, but they were defeated on October 21 at Venta y Media and on November 28 at Sipe-Sipe near Cochabamba. The Spaniards could not move south because they were stopped by the provincial army of Salta led by Governor Martin Miguel de Guemes.
      At the end of 1815 a second Congress convened at Tucuman. The provinces of Santa Fe, Entre Rios, Corrientes, and the Eastern Province had formed the Federal League of Free Peoples on 29 June 1815. The other revolutionary provinces sent representatives to the Congress of Tucuman, and on May 3, 1816 the delegates elected the former triumvir Juan Martin de Pueyrredon as Director. On July 9 they declared the independence of the United Provinces of Rio Plata which eventually became known as Argentina. Cordoba was in open revolt. Pueyrredon avoided conflict with the federalists and initiated a campaign against the Spaniards in Chile. San Martin and his army of 5,000 crossed the Andes Mountains.
      In June 1816 the Portuguese attacked the government of Artigas at Montevideo. Pueyrredon and Buenos Aires refused to support Artigas, and Montevideo surrendered to the Portuguese in January 1817.

Argentine Revolution & Paraguay 1817-30

      The Argentine revolution had begun in 1810, and the provinces of Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Corrientes, and the Eastern Province had formed the Federal League of Free Peoples in June 1815. Other revolutionary provinces sent delegates to the Congress of Tucuman. In May 1816 they elected Juan Martin de Pueyrredon to be Director, and in July they declared the independence of the United Provinces of Rio Plata.
      José Gervasio Artigas tried to fight the Portuguese invaders from June 1816, but Montevideo surrendered to the Portuguese in January 1817. Artigas became more dependent on Santa Fe and Entre Ríos, and the Federal League deteriorated. Finally in 1820 the leaders Estanislao López (r. 1818-38) of Santa Fe and Francisco “Pancho” Ramírez (r. 1817-21) of Entre Ríos renounced Artigas who retreated to Corrientes and then to Paraguay. Director Pueyrredon imposed economic sanctions on the federalist provinces, but this added to their grievances against Buenos Aires. On 22 August 1818 Pueyrredon wrote to General San Martín that he could not send him the 500,000 pesos he had promised, and San Martín resigned on 6 September. In 1819 Pueyrredon endorsed a unitarist constitution that authorized Buenos Aires to nominate local officials and provincial governors. He sent an army into Santa Fe; but they were repelled, and revolts forced Pueyrredon to resign on 9 June and to take refuge in Montevideo.
      José Rondeau became Director, but the cavalries of Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, and Corrientes defeated his army at Cepeda near Buenos Aires on 1 February 1820. The victorious caudillos demanded the constitution of 1819 be abrogated and that Buenos Aires accept federalism by allowing the election of its own governor and legislature, free navigation of rivers, and no interference with trade. The Treaty of Pilar signed in Buenos Aires on 23 February 1820 by the provisional governor Manuel de Sarratea for Buenos Aires and Ramírez for Entre Ríos gave Estanislao López 25,000 cattle for the hungry people in Santa Fe. Ramírez tried to extend his governing to Corrientes and Cordoba, but López defeated his forces and pursued him until Ramírez was captured and killed. López proclaimed himself patriarch of the Federation, but he no longer had enough military power to threaten Buenos Aires. In January 1822 Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Santa Fe, and Corrientes agreed to the Quadrilateral Treaty to defend the national territory.
      Cordoba declared its independence on 17 January 1820, but on the first of March La Rioja broke away from Cordoba which adopted a constitution on 30 January 1821. On 22 March 1820 Governor Bernabé Araoz of Tucuman created the independent Federal Republic of Tucuman with the provinces of Tucuman, Catamarca, and Santiago del Estero, but the other two provinces rebelled against Tucuman the next year.
      After a series of governors struggled to govern Buenos Aires, on 20 September 1820 Martín Rodríguez became provisional governor. He negotiated with López and Ramírez, and he managed to suppress an internal revolt. Rodríguez governed until April 1824 and concentrated on the frontier wars while Bernardino Rivadavia promoted free trade, European immigration, and land reform. He was a disciple of Jeremy Bentham and introduced modern accounting and limited the power of the Church, the police, and the military. A law passed on 4 September 1821 made private property inviolable and gave the legislature the power to tax, pleasing foreign merchants. That year they established universal male suffrage. Also Rivadavia founded the University of Buenos Aires and provided it with a state subsidy. He supplied the library with the latest books on medicine, science, and political economy. The Sociedad de Beneficiencia was established for charity and the education of women.
      The provinces held another national Congress in 1822. In June the British Navigation Acts opened shipping to the former Spanish dependencies to all ports in the British empire. In the next two years import duties provided 84% of provincial revenues. A new discount bank was dominated by British merchants. In 1823 Rivadavia separated servants from owners and required the former to have signed papers or face a penalty of five years in the militia. In January 1824 Rivadavia got a loan of £1,000,000 to construct new harbor facilities; but the government got only £700,000 while the House of Baring got £30,000, and the agents John Parish Robertson and Felix Castro £120,000 each. Juan Gregorio de las Heras succeeded Rodríguez as governor in April. Rivadavia visited London and helped organize the River Plate Mining Company with British capital in December. On 29 November the provincial legislature prohibited the importing of grain, and El Argos called it economically insane. At Buenos Aires on 2 February 1825 the United Provinces of Rio la Plata signed a commercial treaty with Britain that was greatly celebrated.
      After Rodríguez’s campaign took more frontier land from the natives, Rivadavia applied the Roman law of Emphyteusis in 1826 by granting long-term rights and use of land with lower rents for merchants than for ranchers and farmers. The government leased land to persons and companies for 8% of the assessed value of pasture land and 4% of crop land. This promoted the transition to ranching. Lessees undervalued the land and paid practically no rent on registered claims that had no limit. About 6.5 million acres quickly went to 122 individuals and partnerships, and by 1830 only 538 persons and corporations had gained 20 million acres.
      A Congress meeting since 1822 produced a Constitution in 1826 and elected Rivadavia president of the United Provinces of South America. Juan Antonio Lavalle led Easterners who left Buenos Aires and mobilized support at Colonia. Brazil declared war on the United Provinces and supported the east bank. Rivadavia used the war to raise an army and then imposed the Constitution on the provinces. Lavalle’s guerrillas could not take Montevideo. Brazil’s navy blockaded Buenos Aires disrupting trade that fell by two-thirds in three years. Trade had been 80% of revenues, but fell by 20% in 1825-28. The army of 20,000 men produced a large deficit as revenues dropped to only 55% of spending. In early 1827 the provinces of Córdoba, La Rioja, Catamarca, and Santiago del Estero led by Juan Bautista Bustos, Facundo Quiroga, and Felipe Ibarra allied to fight against the constitution. Rumors of cattleman revolting in Buenos Aires scared the British and merchants into abandoning the government, and Bernardino Rivadavia resigned on June 27. He had supported progressives by starting the Benevolent Society, the College of Moral Science, and the University of Buenos Aires, but these angered conservatives by weakening the Church.
      Another civil war broke out, and Rivadavia’s replacement, Manuel Dorrego, canceled the Constitution and recognized provincial autonomy as he became Governor of Buenos Aires. The United Provinces became the Argentine Confederation of the River Plate. Dorrego accepted British mediation by the envoy Ponsonby, and Brazil and Buenos Aires agreed to a treaty at Montevideo on 27 August 1828 that created the Eastern Republic of Uruguay between them. The army split as General Juan Lavalle took troops to Buenos Aires while José Maria Paz led others to Córdoba. Juan Lavelle overthrew Dorrego, had him executed in December, and governed Buenos Aires for seven months. Paz defeated Bustos at San Roque in Córdoba on 22 April 1829 and withstood an attack by Quiroga’s forces from La Rioja. General Juan Manuel de Rosas led the militia in Buenos Aires for Federalism and allied with Estanislao López in Santa Fe, and at Puente de Márquez on April 26 they defeated Lavalle who fled to Montevideo. On November 3 Rosas came to Buenos Aires as the Federalist leader, and he restored order and became Governor on December 6. He formed an army and intimidated his opponents with censorship and banishment, and he represented the rising power of the ranchers by shifting spending to rural areas and cutting urban expenditures in half.
      Paz defeated Quiroga in early 1830 and took over provinces adjoining Córdoba, and 9 of the 14 Argentine provinces were in his Unitarian League by August. However, López gathered forces and attacked Paz with the army of Rosas and captured Paz in 1831. Paz was imprisoned for four years, and the Unitarian League dissolved.

      A Paraguay Cabildo had appointed José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia a dictator in 1814, and in 1816 another Cabildo made him dictator for life. In 1817 Francia began appointing all the members of the Cabildo in Asunción. In 1818 he started imprisoning political opponents, and by December 1821 there were more than a hundred political prisoners incarcerated for 18 months. Wealthy Spaniards were also exiled or killed. José Artigas, who had led a revolution in Uruguay, lost power there on 5 September 1820 and took refuge in Paraguay, where he lived in exile until his death in 1850.  In June 1821 Francia had 68 Creole conspirators shot, and scores spent years in jail. Because of the 1820 conspiracy more arrests were made in 1822 and 1823. That year he ordered all the natives of Santa Fe in Paraguay arrested, and they did not learn why until 1834. None were released until after Francia’s death in 1840. In 1825 he closed the Cabildo. In June he ordered merchants in Pilar arrested, but in August the Paraguayan government received the first diplomat (Correa from Brazil) since 1813. Brazil and Argentina fought much of their Cisplatine War from 1825 to 1828 in Paraguay. In 1828 Francia broke off relations with the Vatican, and he took over appointing bishops and priests. He imposed order and encouraged hard work, increasing agriculture and stock raising.

Argentina & Paraguay 1831-50

      In 1832 the British Navy took over the Malvinas Islands and renamed them the Falklands despite the protests of Argentina, the United States, and France. Juan Manuel de Rosas ended his term as Governor of the Buenos Aires province on 5 December 1832. In March 1833 he led a military expedition into the southern frontier of the southern Pampas and northern Patagonia as far as Rio Negro. When the Ranquel and Mapuche people refused to negotiate and attacked rural villages, Rosas treated them as enemies. After his return in 1834 he claimed that his army had killed 3,200 natives and had taken 1,200 prisoners while rescuing 1,000 captives. He appropriated land and granted it to officers in the expedition. Juan Ramón Balcarce had been elected governor in 1832, but the legislature replaced him in November 1833 with General Viamonte. Rosas made him resign in June 1834, and the legislators agreed to let their president Manuel Vicente Maza become governor.
      The Federalist leader Facunda Quiroga wanted a new constitution, but he was assassinated in February 1835. With civil war impending Rosas resumed being governor again on March 7. Then on April 13 he was elected and given dictatorial power. He used terror and assassination to maintain political loyalty, killing about 2,000 people by 1852. In 1836 a tariff law prohibited importing cattle products, maize, timber, and butter. The commercial depression went on in the 1830s until 1837 when trade recovered to its 1825 activity. The emphyteusis land contracts expired in 1836, and private ownership took over by 1838. By the 1840s several ranchers owned more than a million acres. Rosas owned 800,000 acres and 500,000 cattle.
      On 19 March 1837 Rosas declared war against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation that was allied with the Unitarists. In the late 1830s citizens of Buenos Aires were forced to wear the red color of the Federalists in parades. Rosas would not give the French commercial concessions or pay indemnities, and in 1838 a French fleet blockaded Buenos Aires. In 1839 they aided the exiled Unitarist General Lavalle who invaded Entre Ríos from Montevideo. Uruguay declared war on Rosas, and Bolivians also invaded. Cattle ranchers south of the Salado River in Chascomús rebelled, but the army led by Rosas’ brother defeated them in November. The British persuaded the French to end the blockade in 1840 as Rosas paid a small indemnity. They drove Lavalle north to Salta, and in 1841 he was killed in Jujuy, ending the civil war. Rosas maintained a standing army of 20,000 men and had 15,000 militia. Military spending was 23.8 million pesos or 47% of the budget in 1840 and rose to 71% in 1841. For the remainder of his regime it was always at least 49%.
      Argentina’s generation of 1837 “romantic” activists were led primarily by Esteban Echeverría, Juan Bautista Alberdi, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, and Bartolomé Mitre. Echeverría (1805-51) was a poet and novelist as well as a political activist. In the 1830s Echeverría promoted “moral regeneration” to overcome Rosas, and in 1846 he published his Manual of Moral Instruction and his Dogma socialista. Yet he is known mostly for his short story “El matadero” (The Slaughter Yard) which is a vivid attack on the violence of the Rosas regime. He wrote it while in exile in Uruguay from 1841-51, and it was not published until 1871.
      Alberdi was a friend of Echeverría and Juan María Gutiérrez. They started the group of liberal intellectuals called the “Generation of ’37” and began the Asociación de Mayo named after the Revolution of May 1810 in Buenos Aires. Alberdi moved to Uruguay in 1838 and to Chile in 1844, but he and Gutiérrez influenced the Constitution of 1853. Alberdi became more conservative and supported Urquiza and the federalist leaders who dominated the country.
      Mitre was a military leader and President of Argentina 1862-68. He was the first editor of El comercio in Valparaiso, Chile, and he contributed to Sarmiento’s El progreso. Mitre was a nationalist and opposed the politics of the lawyer Valentín Alsina who was governor of Buenos Aires twice in the 1850s. Yet in October 1852 Alsina asked Mitre to lead the defense of Buenos Aires. The moderate José Mármol was arrested for criticizing Rosas and went into exile. He published part of his autobiographical novel Amalia in 1844 and all of it in 1855. He also wrote the plays El Poeta in 1847 and El Cruzado in 1851.
      Sarmiento was an influential writer and the next President of Argentina 1868-74. The generation of 1837 did not like being called “romantics” and thought of themselves as eclectics or socialists. They promoted literary culture and progressive ideas through education and journalism, they criticized medieval and Spanish colonialism, and urged more European immigration. Sarmiento published his historical novel Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism in 1845 to denounce the tyranny of Rosas and to replace it with European civilization. The book discusses Argentine history and government and describes the life of Juan Facundo Quiroga who lived in Argentina 1788-1835. In 1849 Sarmiento published De la Educación Común to promote free schooling for all. In 1850 he wrote the utopian novel Argirópolis (Silver City) and his memories in Recuerdos de Provincia.
      In 1843 Rosas imposed a blockade on Montevideo, and the siege continued for nine years. In 1845 he tried to control the trade on the Paraná River which aroused the French and British, and from September 18 they blockaded the Rio de la Plata region for five years. In 1849 Rosas declined to run for re-election; but he negotiated a treaty with Britain that was signed on 24 November 1849 and ratified on 15 May 1850, and France agreed to a settlement on August 31.
      Justo José Urquiza became governor of the Entre Ríos province in 1841. After gaining allies from Brazil and Uruguay he rejected the re-election of Rosas in May 1851. Urquiza raised the siege of Montevideo in September, and he led an army toward Buenos Aires that defeated Rosas by the city of Caseros in early 1852 and then massacred several hundred followers of Rosas in Buenos Aires. Rosas fled on a British Navy ship and spent the rest of his life in England.
      On 1 May 1852 Alberdi published in Valparaiso his Bases y puntos de partida para la organización política de la República Argentina, and copies were sent to Urquiza, Gutiérrez, Mitre, and others. Alberdi supported Urquiza, but Sarmiento backed the autonomy of Buenos Aires under Mitre. Yet Alberdi and Sarmiento agreed on religious tolerance and secular public schools.
      Provinces sent delegates to a convention at San Nicolás near Santa Fe, and in the Acuerdo San Nicolás they endorsed a liberal constitution urged by intellectuals such as Sarmiento and Alberdi. In opposition the Partido Liberal formed at Bueno Aires in June 1852. Liberals there removed Urquiza’s puppet governor Vicente López y Planes on July 26 and then revolted in September and were called setembristas. Sarmiento gained support for them from Argentine exiles in Santiago. They rejected the San Nicolás accord in early 1853, and their delegates withdrew from the constitutional convention organized by Urquiza who was supported by the wealthy cattle producers. Yet the other provinces ratified that constitution, and Urquiza became President of the new Argentine Confederation at its capital in Entre Ríos. Buenos Aires declared independence, and the two states remained separate for six years. Buenos Aires had more trade and revenues while the Confederation struggled with inflated paper money and bankruptcy. Urquiza offered commercial concessions and gained diplomatic recognition from Britain in 1853. Argentina had 1.1 million people in 1857. That year Buenos Aires began paying off its defaulted loan made in 1824. From 1855 to 1858 Sarmiento edited and wrote influential articles in El nacional.
      On 1 April 1859 the former Governor Benavidez of the San Juan Province was assassinated. Urquiza invaded Buenos Aires, and his army defeated theirs at Cepeda near Santa Fe on October 23. The Confederate army occupied Buenos Aires until Bartolomé Mitre became governor there on 3 May 1860. Urquiza’s cavalry led revolts in the provinces; but Buenos Aires gained amendments to the Constitution of 1853, ratified it, and on 17 September 1861 Mitre’s militia with new rifles and cannons defeated the Confederates at Pavón. Urquiza retreated and found so much resistance in Buenos Aires that after his rearguard revolted, he went back to his palace in Entre Ríos where he was eventually assassinated at the age of 88 in 1870. In the next two years Mitre tried to bring peace to Córdoba and the interior.
      On 12 October 1862 Governor Mitre became the first elected President of a united Argentina, and he served for four years. The amended Constitution provided for a bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary with a bill of rights that outlawed slavery and the slave trade. The Congress improved education, promoted immigration, and funded railroads by gaining foreign loans. The Constitution banned restraints on trade and authorized a Senate for which only the wealthy were qualified and which had nine-year terms. Catholicism was recognized as the state religion although liberty of conscience was protected. Foreigners were not required to provide loans or serve in the military. Jurist Dalmacio Vélez Sarsfield developed a Commercial Code that passed in 1863.
      Ángel Vicente Peñaloza, who was called El Chacho, led gaucho clans in La Rioja province that attacked San Luis in the southeast in 1862. He controlled much of the west and took over Córdoba on 14 June 1863; but two weeks later they were defeated at Pajas Blancas. An army from Santiago del Estero financed by Buenos Aires invaded La Rioja, defeating and dispersing his army and eventually executing El Chacho on November 12. The number of sheep in Argentina multiplied, and wool exports went from 300 tons in 1829 to 55,000 tons in 1865.

      After the death of the dictator Francia on 20 September 1840 a provisional junta ruled Paraguay. They ordered Artigas and other influential foreigners arrested, and they did not release Francia’s 600 political prisoners. Carlos Antonio López returned to his home in Trinidad and met with dissatisfied officers. On 23 January 1841 an army unit surrounded Government House, and Sergeant Duré ordered the members of the Junta shackled and proclaimed a triumvirate with two city mayors; but on 9 February the officer Mariano Roque Alonso overthrew Duré and prepared for an assembly. Alonso took command and with his secretary Carlos Antonio López and the approval of the army they summoned a congress to meet on March 12. Partidos elected nearly 500 delegates, and they met in the Church of San Francisco and elected Alonso and López consuls for three years.
      López was 54 years old and well educated but obese. Alonso let López govern Paraguay while chain-smoking cigars between large meals. López opened schools to improve literacy. A constitution in 1844 gave López most of the power, and property-owners could elect the assembly. In 1844 the Congress voted López a ten-year term as President, and they met only once every five years. In 1845 Uruguay was opposing Argentina’s Rosas and recognized Paraguay’s independence. In 1846 a census counted 238,862 Paraguayans and an estimated 20,000 natives. On 15 May 1848 the illiterate Rose Dominga Ocampos won a lawsuit with compensation against her former fiancée, the Spaniard Martin de Abazolo, for breach of promise. López presided over the Congress in 1849 and got many deputies to resign.


  1. Ideas and Politics of Chilean Independence 1808-1833 by Simon Collier, p. 69.
Copyright © 2006, 2012, 2021 by Sanderson Beck

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