Bolivia - The Struggles for Independence

Bolivia – The Struggles for Independence

South America

. – The days of Spanish domination are moreover now numbered: not by the work of the Indians, but by those Creoles and mestizos, who have created a conscience of their own, even hostile to that of Spain. We are at the beginning of the nineteenth century: that is, at the beginning of the autonomist movements and then of the revolutions in Latin America. Already in 1800 in the viceroyalty of Peru, José Caro plans an autonomist movement in agreement with Antonio Nariño of Ecuador and Francesco Miranda of Venezuela. But the movement really began only with 1808. When the news of the abdication of Charles IV and the captivity of Ferdinand VII in France reached Upper Peru, in September,

Truly Chuquisaca enjoyed the reputation of being a peaceful and submissive city, because it was the seat of the Audiencia and of the most important continental archbishopric. It was also one of the intellectual centers of Spanish America, thanks to its university and the Carolina Academy; but, even if the ideas of the Enlightenment were discussed, the political theories of Montesquieu, Raynal, D’Aguesseau, even if the Carolina Academy formulated certain conclusions of a democratic flavor (sovereignty of the people, etc.), on the whole the intellectual environment was marked by reactionary and conservative ideas, as Gondra demonstrated. Chuquisaca was certainly not the mother of revolutionary ideas, as has been believed for a long time. The situation could therefore not seem worrying, when in November 1808 he reached the Academy of Charcas don José Manuel Goyeneche, who carried instructions from the Seville junta, but who was also in charge of planning and defending the supposed claims of Carlotta Gioacchina of Bourbon, queen of Portugal, towards the Spanish colonies. Received anxiously by the authorities with his designs, he achieved nothing other than to exacerbate the discord (which had arisen a few years earlier, for political reasons) between the governor and the audiences of the Audiencia. The discord became public: the university intellectuals took advantage of it to captivate the people while proving, at least in appearance, defenders of Spanish sovereignty; and formed the Patriotic Party. The governor, Don Remón Garcia Pizarro (descendant of the conqueror Francesco), tried to dominate the movement which was still only local; but he was released from command and taken prisoner in his own residence. It seems that he then pronounced the following sentence: “With the first Pizarro the Spanish domination began here and with the last it will end, (May 25, 1809). The Audiencia assumed the government, instructing Colonel Arenales to prepare the city against the attack by the troops of Potosí, who had been called by Pizarro, and communicating the new state of affairs to the other cities of Upper Peru. to the monarchy: because only later did they come to want the liberation from the Spanish domination. Thus began the struggles for independence in Upper Peru: struggles that were to last fifteen years, between bloody and glorious episodes. For Bolivia military, please check

At first the Goyeneche, governor of Cuzco, managed to stifle the rebellion, defeating the patriots in Chacaltaya, executing all nine members of the La Paz junta (January 29, 1810) and freeing the colonial authorities of Chuquisaca. But in May 1810 the revolution in Buenos Aires broke out, and the independent Junta established there sent forces commanded by Balcare to help the Upper Peruvians. The insurrection then spread to Oruro and the forces of the four provinces of Upper Peru obtained their first victory in Aruma (October 1, 1810). But General Joaquín Pezuela, who replaced Goyeneche, destroyed in Vilcapuquio and Hayuma (1813) the second Argentine army, led by Belgrano, whose scattered and demoralized troops desolated the territory. The peasants, persecuted by both armies, deprived of their possessions and fatal victims on both sides, they were forced to react and defend themselves in order to save their lives and possessions; and thus, unwittingly consciously, they were drawn to fight for freedom. Entire villages rose up; and the local leaders appeared: Manuel Ascensio Padilla in Lagunas, Arenales in Santa Cruz, Sarate in Pasco, Camargo in Cinti, Lanza in the Ayopaya valleys, Warnes in the east, Rojas in Tarija, the priest of La Paz, Muñecas, in Larecaja, and even women like Padilla’s wife, the famous Juana Azurduy. Enhanced by the spirit of freedom (more heartfelt than thought), tempered by patriotic passion, also captivated by the spirit of adventure, the leaders managed to drag the mass of peaceful peasants and artisans of the cities with them, without these having clear ideas about their task and the very extent of the movement. And it was thereguerre de las republiquetas, with a thousand heroic and savage episodes, with a hundred and two heads: of them only nine survived the final victory, the others perished on the scaffold or in combat.

Nor did the Indians remain strangers to the struggles: four thousand of them, led by Pomakahua, rebelled in Cuzco; and conquered Pomakahua by Colonel Benavente in Secuani (May 1815), they joined the local gangs in groups. General La Serna tried to give the war a more human character, who in 1816 replaced Pezuela in the command of the Spanish troops. He wanted to give the struggle a chivalrous character: but his purpose failed in the face of the undisciplined guerrilla warfare of the Creoles and gauchos; and since he was unable, on the other hand, to avoid the victories of San Martín, who proceeded from Chile in the south and those of Simón Bolívar who appeared in the north, he gave the command to Don José Canterac.

The following campaigns centered above all on today’s Peru (v.); in 1824 the battle of Junín (6 August), won by Bolívar over the Spaniards, and the subsequent campaign of the lieutenant of Bolívar, Sucre, in the Andes (victory of Ayacucho, 9 December 1824), put an end to the Spanish rule in Peru. The Spanish general Olañeia still resisted on the plateau, dominating around Lake Titicaca, the ancient territory of the Audiencia de Charcas with its provinces of La Paz, Potosí, Cochabamba and Chuquisaca. But, when the news of Ayacucho’s defeat spread, the royalist garrisons began to sympathize with the revolutionaries; the city of Cochabamba took the initiative (January 26, 1825), followed by Valle Grande, Santa Cruz, Moios and Chiquitos: La Paz was occupied by José Miguel Lanza “el Pelayo del Alto Perú”:

Sucre did not want to intervene, because he was acting in the name of Peru, while the territory of Charcas (by traditional jurisdiction) belonged to Buenos Aires, and thus a political conflict could have originated with the government of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. But Bolívar advised action: and Sucre, passing the Desaguadero (neighboring river of the Peruvian and Rio-Plateau territories), began the march by entering La Paz. A month later (February 9, 1825) he published a decree in which he recognized the right of the territory to constitute itself according to his will, and called a Constituent Congress that could decide on the political form of the four provinces.

The invasion of Sucre, the convening of the congress and the fact that the Peruvian government was trying to secure the annexation of the plateau or at least adequate compensation, decided the congress and the government of the United Provinces of Río de La Plata to send the general Antonio Alvárez de Arenales for the purpose of guaranteeing the freedom of the provinces. Bolívar then recommended that Sucre postpone the congress and leave the question to the status quo, without making any innovations, pending the decisions of the congress of the Peruvian republic. But the Argentine general proceeded, well disposed to achieve the independence of the territory (still subjugated, in part, by Olañeta) and to support the will of the liberated provinces. Military action was almost spared, since, due to a dissent that arose among Olañeta’s followers, the factions attacked each other and the general, with the few forces that followed him, was defeated and killed on April 2, 1825. The relations between Peruvians and Argentines also became clearer; so that Bolívȧr on May 26, 1825 issued a decree providing that the Provinces of Upper Peru would meet in a general assembly to freely express their will, in accordance with the “desire of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata and the same Provinces “. However, all the agreements of the assembly were subjected to the sanction of the Congress of Peru. Upper Peru met in a general assembly to freely express their will, in accordance with the “desire of the United Provinces of Río de la Plata and of the same provinces”. However, all the agreements of the assembly were subjected to the sanction of the Congress of Peru. Upper Peru met in a general assembly to freely express their will, in accordance with the “desire of the United Provinces of Río de la Plata and of the same provinces”. However, all the agreements of the assembly were subjected to the sanction of the Congress of Peru.

Bolivia - The Struggles for Independence