Spain’s loss of its Latin American empire was one of the most momentous events of the nineteenth century, with repercussions that can be felt even in the present day. Yet whatever is known of the subject has generally come from studies of the Latin American participants in the war. Popular attitudes in Spain, particularly those of the Spanish army (which was directly concerned with the war), have heretofore been neglected. A little probing into the contemporary press and into the military archives from 1810 to 1824 reveals peculiar features of the Spanish attitude hard to reconcile with the “national tragedy” then in progress.1

During the entire revolution Spain was beset with difficulties. In 1808, at a nod from Napoleon, both the aged Charles IV and the new king, Ferdinand VII, voluntarily turned the country over to the French and meekly removed themselves to Bayonne. The Spanish people watched with smoldering resentment as Joseph Bonaparte arrived with his court, and then, on May 2, rose in revolt and for the next six years fought the invader. A new government was formed which proclaimed its loyalty to Ferdinand, but it had to flee to Cádiz before the onrushing armies. There in 1810, besieged on several sides, a group of liberals seized the opportunity to turn Spain into a constitutional monarchy.

It was at this juncture that word arrived of insurrections in the empire, first in New Spain and Venezuela, then spreading quickly to Peru, Chile, and the Río de la Plata. Despite the truly desperate situation in Spain itself, the immediate reaction was a general outcry to send an army to crush the revolts. Juan López Cancelada, writing in 1810, called for a mighty “expedition of peace”; and other men, also, thought that only through military action could Spain “positively secure” its control over the rebels.2 In 1808 Spain had about 125,700 men stationed permanently from Mexico to the Río de la Plata.3 But since many of these troops were native Americans,4 drawn from the same populations which were now rebelling, observers in Spain felt that the regular units would not be sufficient. Although never unanimous, the demand for force finally convinced the government, and on May 14, 1812, it dispatched the Second Battalion of Albuerna to the Río de la Plata.

Criticism welled up at once in Spain. As might have been expected, the French-controlled Gazeta de Madrid attacked the move, in words that could have come from a Spanish pen. “Fathers,” went the plea, “look at the fate which you are preparing for your sons: a certain death in remote countries, or a camp [so far away that] you will never see them again.”5 Repeated statements of this sort during the next decade suggested that nothing could be more loathsome and fearful to a Spaniard than the prospect of death on the other side of the world. The lusty spirit of the conquistadors was nowhere to be seen.

By 1813 two more expeditions of 2,000 and 3,000 men had gone from Cádiz to the Río de la Plata,6 making 6,500 or 7,000 troops that had been sent in all. But the force was insufficient, and both British and Spanish observers estimated that at least 3,000 more troops would be required to secure Buenos Aires.7 This was precisely the figure said to be needed at the same time to bolster Spain’s defenses against the French.

Complaints began to pour into Cádiz from both sides of the Atlantic against the government’s military policy. In Spain, Valentín Ortigosa complained in 1813 of the “painful evils” which sending the first troops had caused and asked how they were to procure the ships and money needed to send any more. He concluded that the entire effort would be disastrous for Spain and useless in crushing the revolutions.8 Events in America seemed to confirm his warning. The two expeditions sent in 1813 arrived in Montevideo with over 800 men ill from scurvy and malnutrition. Conditions continued to be difficult after the landing, and discontent was rife. From New Spain came word of desertions, not only of native soldiers, but also of Europeans, some of whom had been shot “to show that they cannot use the excuse they were kidnapped.”9

Along with desertions, both the Spanish expeditionary forces and the loyal troops already stationed in America suffered from widespread insubordination among the lower-echelon officers. In Venezuela as early as 1812 a conflict arose between the governor of that province, José Cevallos, and Captain Domingo Monteverde, who was supposed to be under the governor’s command. Cevallos accused Monteverde of disobedience, and others on the scene supported the accusation.10 News of the sorry state of affairs in Venezuela quickly began to circulate in Spain. Later, after Monteverde had become a general, his enemies accused him of clumsiness and ignorance.11 His demagoguery and ambition were said to have contributed substantially to the resumption of hostilities in Venezuela after Miranda’s capitulation in 1812. According to an exposé of 1820, his “perfidious” and “scandalous” actions had “conducted the province to the border of a precipice, provoking the intestinal war of Hueria and Maturín.”12 A Spanish officer witnessing these events feared that Monteverde was causing the “paralysis of the Reconquest” and warned the Spanish government: “There is no alternative to sending respectable forces from the Peninsula or abandoning this country.”13

In that same year (1814) Ferdinand VII was restored to the Spanish throne. Although primarily concerned with eradicating all vestiges of liberalism in the country, he still found time to answer the plea for “respectable forces” in America. To head the new expedition he selected Pablo Morillo, a modest soldier who had risen to the rank of field marshal in the war against the French. On August 14, 1814, Morillo was appointed captain-general of Venezuela and general-in-chief over a expeditionary army of 10,000 men, the largest force thus far sent to the colonies.14 Although he tried to escape his deep involvement with the war in the colonies, he became virtually its symbol. From 1814 to 1820, when he returned to Spain, Morillo made a valiant but vain effort to lead his men to victory.

Michael Quin, a travelling Englishman, called the king “delirious” to think that he could reconquer a courageous and numerous people “with a handful of discontented soldiers,”15 and events bore him out. Although the army was supposed to depart from Cádiz in November 1814, foul weather prevented the sailing. Despite another attempt to sail in December, the fleet was forced to stay there until February 17, 1815. According to Rafael Sevilla, a young officer under Morillo, the soldiers were bribed to go to America by being promoted “one rank higher,” but the transparent scheme “disgusted the army,” and “few officers” volunteered to go. All of the men were quartered and watched to avoid desertions, and every day the departure was announced for the following day.16 One reason for the close supervision was that Cádiz was seething with secret societies modeled on Freemasonry, which hoped to restore the Constitution of 1812. Naturally the plotters tried to interest the troops in their plans. Morillo himself was initiated into one of these societies and urged to lead a revolution, but he refused and tried to hold the other members to their duty. With some of the soldiers he succeeded; others deserted.17

Though no uprising occurred among the soldiers in 1815, largely because of his magnetic leadership, army morale was extremely low. Morillo felt obliged to conceal the true destination of his command, and for months the men believed that they were sailing to Buenos Aires. Not until the expedition was well at sea was the word given out that they were really going to Costa Firme. According to Sevilla, this “accursed news” spread about his ship on February 25, causing “general consternation,” because “we all knew . . . that in Costa Firme the war was fought without quarter and with savage ferocity. General Morillo, understanding the bad effect which this change of plan would cause, sent us an encouraging proclamation . . ..”18 The grumbling men acquiesced sullenly, and it is not surprising that when an accidental fire broke out on the San Pedro as she lay off the coast of Margarita, everyone assumed that there had been a mutiny.19

From the day of their arrival in America the Spanish troops were dissatisfied, despite their initial successes against the rebels. The inducements promised to them did not all materialize, and a minor revolt broke out in some companies from Extremadura.20 Among the officers there were also rivalries, quarrels, and general bitterness.21 Increasingly pessimistic about future success, Morillo asked to be relieved of command in June 1816. By the next year Margarita had been lost again, and the discord among the officers continued. In January 1818, Morillo once more wrote to Madrid requesting a transfer and complained of “the cowardly manner” in which the Spanish officers fled from the rebels, “seeking only their own personal safety.”22 Both times his request was ignored.

The most serious indication of low morale in the army was the problem of desertions.23 Rafael Sevilla was sent out to track down a deserter as soon as he landed in Costa Firme,24 and by 1816 references to large numbers of deserters were beginning to crop up in official correspondence. On January 26 the general-in-chief of the Estado Mayor wrote that he was looking in vain for the “prisoners and deserters of the fleet.” Five weeks later he mentioned that “the roads are full of robbers from the many deserters of the . . . [Fifth] division,”25 and in May 1816, Morillo wrote to Miguel de la Torre that in Caracas “they are deserting in flocks.”26

The flights continued during 1817, although penalties became more severe. One soldier was arrested simply because he announced at the house of a certain Carmen Rosas, that “many soldiers” were considering defecting to the enemy.27 A decree of 1815, which established the death penalty for anyone caught more than one-half league from the army, had no noticeable effect. In 1819 Morillo wrote to another officer demanding that the original decree be more widely publicized.28 But a month later an entire battalion deserted, to the great consternation of the Spanish officers.29

In 1820 (the year that Morillo’s resignation was finally accepted) the situation was desperate. On July 31, he wrote to the jefe superior politico for help in order to prevent the “dissolution of the army.” The number of defectors had reached, “in a short time, more than 300 men from the Third Battalion of the King, and not a few from the Second of Valencey, Barina, Príncipe and the other divisions. . ..”30 By now the king’s army was in such obvious danger of losing the war that the deterioration of morale was to be expected. But in view of the fact that Morillo’s entire Spanish force had numbered only 10,000 men, the numbers who deserted are impressive. On December 23, 1820, an officer reported his failure to apprehend any of the 336 men who had defected during the previous August; and on December 30, another officer listed 800 men missing.31

In 1821 many officers began to shirk their responsibilities and apply for transfer back to Spain, testifying that they “no longer found themselves fit to continue in service.”32 Miguel Valbuena wrote to La Torre at this time complaining that both the colonel and the lieutenant colonel had left his regiment for Spain, “in the critical circumstances of seeing this plaza blockaded by the enemy, abandoning in this way their most sacred obligations.”33 Other officers continued to complain desperately about the loss of men, lamenting that “everywhere one hears evil spoken of the king’s troops and of the Spaniards.”34

It is virtually impossible to determine the total number of Spaniards who defected, and one must also bear in mind that desertion was a common problem for all armies of the day, particularly in the tropics. Nevertheless, the evidence indicates that the Spanish forces were riddled to an unusual degree. One difficulty in keeping them together was that more than half were native American troops, many of them virtually kidnapped and forced to fight aginst their fellow countrymen. Although in the early years of the revolutions numerous Americans were eager to fight for the royalist cause, from 1817 on defeat cooled their allegiance to Spain. During the last several years of the wars, American recruits were provided “almost entirely” by forced levies a few days before a new campaign, as in the case of Brigadier General Mariano Osorio, who went into Chile in 1818 to battle the forces of San Martín: “The regiments were filled up, a few days previous to their embarkation, with prisoners, Negroes, and recruits of the worst description. . ..”35 Small wonder that the men seized their first opportunity to defect. A British naval officer in 1821 reported that the entire King’s Regiment of Numantia, close to 700 men, had deserted to San Martín. Out of 6,000 or 7,000 men in the royal army of Peru, he estimated that only 2,500 were Europeans. He added: “It is quite certain many of the royal troops will join San Martín the moment his army approaches Lima. . ..”36

In some cases all of a given group of deserters were Americans,37 but there is no question that Europeans also were frequently involved. On September 11, 1820, Morillo wrote that the enemy was trying to enlist all the men in the area, “without distinction as to position or age, managing to bring over to their side even the soldiers of the Spanish nation.”38 Particularly convincing are the reports of British naval officers stationed off Buenos Aires, Valparaíso, and Callao. In January 1818, Captain William Bowles of the Amphion wrote about the army of Peru:39

A very bad spirit pervades the whole corps: the Europeans are dissatisfied and disaffected to a degree I could hardly have believed possible if I had not witnessed it myself; the squadron of Lancers mutinied on the mole, and refused to embark till troops were brought up to compel them. . ..

Like many other British officers stationed there, Bowles was a shrewd and objective observer. He attributed the discontent to “the disunion which prevails amongst the Spaniards themselves—the dislike of the army to the harassing and inglorious service on which they are employed. . .. I heard many officers of rank express their earnest hope that the war might soon terminate in the acknowledgement of the independence of this country.”40

If desertion and insubordination increasingly threatened the success of the royal forces in America, it is also true that back in Spain the people showed less and less interest in actively supporting the war. The true measure of this attitude can be seen in the government’s continued difficulty in raising expeditions, a fact which had profound political connotations.

With every passing month, fewer men seemed willing to risk death in the malarial wastes of the colonies. Stragglers brought back to Spain hair-raising descriptions of dense jungles, of deserts “like petrified seas” and tales of “putrifying corpses, impenetrable forests, man-eating reptiles,” and of tigers “roaring at night.”41 Even in the rigorously censored pages of the Gazeta de Madrid such stories had an effect. In September 1815 the Ministry of the Indies reported that the soldiers assigned to go to America were “delaying their departure in a scandalous way”; and a year later the Ministry of War complained of the “scandalous desertion” of the soldiers who were to be sent overseas as replacements.42

Nevertheless, the government finally answered Morillo’s pleas for another expedition. He had written repeatedly for more men and supplies, and Minister of State León y Pizarro (by his own account) worked tirelessly to prod his fellow ministers into action.43 At length, on May 21, 1818, an expedition put out from Cádiz for Peru, consisting of the María Isabel with thirty cannons and ten trasportes carrying in all 2,080 men. Very shortly they met with bad weather, and the men took advantage of the opportunity to make known to the commanding officer of the expedition a long list of grievances. Their complaints were not heeded, and on July 25, the entire crew of the Trinidad, led by Remigio Martínez, revolted, killed six officers, and sailed to the Río de la Plata, where the people of Buenos Aires received them joyously on August 26. There they informed the government of the United Provinces that they had planned the uprising even before leaving Cádiz and revealed all the details about the expedition. They were then housed in special quarters and exposed to a continuous round of visits from curious sightseers.44

The Spanish government tried to conceal the news of the incident from its people, but El Español Constitucional, published in London by a group of émigré liberals, did not hesitate to quote the entire story as it appeared in the Morning Chronicle. The article related that when the men left the Canary Islands they were in a “deplorable situation,” lacking clothing and sufficient supplies. “Besides,” it continued, “all the soldiers knew very well the sad fate of the devotees of Morillo [sic] . . .,” and did not want to share it.45 The British, eager to start trading with the new, “independent” American republics, naturally took the incident as a sign of the growing resistance in Spain to the war and used it in propaganda.

News of this incident was virtually suppressed in Spain, but within two years fear of fighting in the colonial wars contributed to another uprising of such importance that it could not be concealed: the Revolution of 1820. Its instigators obviously acted out of political motives and did most of their scheming in the headquarters of the Freemasons at Cádiz. In fact, the man described as “the soul and expression of the Revolution of 1820,” Antonio Alcalá Galiano, was a prominent Freemason.46 An elfish little person with peculiar bulging eyes, Alcalá was best known as an orator, with a voice described as eloquent and irresistible by people who heard him. The Englishman Michael Quin saw him once at the Cortes in 1821 and reported that at the end of each speech the people would bear him on their shoulders out of the Cortes and into the street past a crowd of cheering admirers.47

The voice of Alcalá Galiano was first put to active use in behalf of revolution during 1817, as he began to call for the liberation of the country from the stifling absolutism of Ferdinand VII. He described himself as a “violent political fanatic,” and worked in an intermediary body of the Freemasons known as the Taller Sublime to build up support for the revolt.48 Even at this level, the military took an extremely important part in the planning;49 but the revolt might never have been carried out, had not a new expedition been formed to sail to America.

Some contemporaries claimed that the government was aware of the revolutionary activity in the Spanish army, and hoped to banish the suspects to the colonies, where they could do no harm.50 Even if the government were innocent of such scheming, it had undeniably picked a poor moment to send out another expedition. Fourteen battalions were gathered in Cádiz in preparation for their departure, under the command of Enrique O’Donnel, the Conde de La Bisbal, who was a Freemason.51 Veterans from America continued to give accounts of the miserable conditions there “which gave rise to the feeling that the members of the expedition were going to their execution.”52 Particularly demoralizing were the stories told by the wounded, with haggard, feverish faces, who were recovering in a Cádiz hospital. Just back from Colombia where they had fought under Morillo, they would talk to the officers of the new expedition, and, “showing their wounds and skeletons, told of their misery and the continuous privations which they had suffered, and the death of their companions. . ..”53

Ramón de Santillán, La Bisbal’s aide-de-camp, wrote in his memoirs that the government believed it could reconquer America “without doubt” through the new expedition. But there were only fourteen thousand men in all, including cavalry, and “the moral conditions of these troops,” he wrote, “already bad in themselves, had been worsened by the secret artifices . . . which were employed . . . to corrupt them.”54 On the other hand, he admitted that the manner in which the men were selected to go was unfortunate. Almost all of the soldiers had already fought in the War of Independence against Napoleon and had completed their legal period of service. They were told that the selection would be done by lot, but as Santillán admitted, “no one doubted that partiality had a greater part in it than luck.”55 In the infantry many of the officers were given salary increases to go, but the cavalry officers either had to sail with the expedition or retire. So many requested retirement that the officers of the three regiments “were renewed four or five times.”56

Morale was thus very low among those soldiers who “had many times already shown their fear of dying in the New World,” and it was worsened by the propaganda of American agents.57 American Freemasons had lodges in London and Lisbon and numerous connections within Spain. Carlos Pueyrredón was particularly active in dispatching money and agents to Spain, for as Supreme Director of the United Provinces, he knew that the expedition was bound for the Río de la Plata. Other active Argentines were Tomás Lezica and Andrés Argibel, merchants living in Cádiz who generously scattered money and proclamations through the city.58 Finally, as if all the human efforts to demoralize the troops were not enough, a serious epidemic of yellow fever broke out in Cádiz, a ghoulish reminder of of the deadly tropical diseases which awaited them in the Indies.

The revolutionaries made one false start in July 1819, but were thwarted by the last-minute treachery of O’Donnell. After renewed preparations on the first day of the new year the commander of the Battalion of Asturias, Rafael Riego, led an uprising in Cabezas de San Juan, proclaiming the Constitution of 1812. That same night he surprised the officers at Arcos de la Frontera. Meanwhile, Colonel Antonio Quiroga revolted in Alcalá de los Gazules and in San Fernando. Neither man succeeded in taking Cádiz, and in the face of this discouraging start Riego began an expedition across Andalucía. His effort was a disaster. Repelled in Málaga, impotent in Córdoba, he found his army of 1,500 almost completely melted away through desertions when he reached Extremadura. Had not other constitutionalist revolts broken out in La Coruña, Zaragoza, and Barcelona, the outcome of Riego’s abortive endeavor would have been quite different.59 As Rafael Cornelias points out, the initial uprising “was confined exclusively to the expeditionary army.”60 And according to a sarcastic contemporary, it was initiated solely to avoid the trip to the New World : they proclaimed the Constitution only in order to “give their rebellion an honest appearance.”61 These comments, together with Riego’s failure to lead the men beyond the first stages of the uprising, indicate that the men’s attitude toward the American wars influenced the entire proceedings. Even the soldiers loyal to the king seemed to agree with the unfortunate members of the expedition. In a proclamation issued by Manuel Freyre at the Cuartel General of Seville on January 20, he urged his own men to remain loyal to Ferdinand, telling them openly what every one of them probably already believed, that the fight which would bring them glory did not lie in the steaming jungles of the colonies.62 As to the new revolutionary government, within a month, the Gaceta Patriótica del Ejército Nacional, a voice of the most radical rebel leaders, began to advocate dispatching commissioners to America to arrange for the recognition of independence.63

The Revolution of 1820 has been the subject of numerous works by students of Spanish history, but they have never sufficiently emphasized its almost total dependence on the whims of the dispirited ultramar expeditionary force. The army which provided the power for the revolutionary leaders was not in the least committed to a constitutional regime. Although some of the revolutionary leaders courted the indifferent troops by coming out for an end to the colonial war and for American independence, the army did not respond. As soon as their own interests were served, the troops abandoned the revolutionary cause, leaving a tiny minority to establish a government which had neither public support nor military force to back it up. During the next three years there was general chaos, with party squabbles, political assassinations, and riots in the streets. When in 1823 a French expedition was sent in to overthrow the constitutional government, its success was anticlimactic. The liberal government had never really been established.

Likewise, very little attention has been paid to the important repercussions which the disruption of the expedition had in America. Without exaggeration the failure of the Cádiz army to sail could be described as the most important single factor determining the loss of the Río de la Plata. No doubt independence would have come eventually, but the fact remains that the years 1819-1820 were the most favorable time in the entire decade for a Spanish reconquest. Captain Bowles stationed off Buenos Aires reported on first hearing of the expedition: “I have never before seen Buenos Ayres in so defenceless a situation, nor discontent and poverty so general.”64 The new government was torn with internal squabbling, and even the war hero San Martín was subjected to accusations and plots. Bowles wrote that the news of the expected invasion had caused “little sensation,” and that the government made virtually no preparations for defense. In short, “the present is the moment when a Spanish expedition would experience fewer difficulties than at any former period of the revolution. . ..”65

The lost opportunity and the negative attitude in the peninsula caused despair among the wretched soldiers already in the colonies. In 1821 a letter by “a well-known officer” to El Espectador expressed the misery so universally felt. The officer remarked that in the Spanish press no subject escaped discussion, “however small and negligible,” except for the war in America, and the latter was treated with “the most lamentable indifference.” Then with the bitterness of a condemned and forgotten man, he asked sardonically to be forgiven for his bad humor:66

Beneath the fire of the enemy cannon, one cannot speak with the calmness, or rather, with the indolence, of you in Madrid. You do not care to think either of peace, or of sending us another brig to continue the war. A more terrible situation does not exist. Our fate has been decided: we are condemned to perish in the obscurity of this campaign without even leaving the memory of our names [behind]. . ..

What is the real explanation for the inferior morale of the Spanish troops, and the insubordination, doubtful loyalty, and defection of so many soldiers? And apart from the reasons for the low morale, were there other occasions than the Revolution of 1820 when it served the interests of political manipulators?

The most obvious reasons for the apathy and misery of the troops were that in the opinion of many the empire was not worth risking their lives for, and that they had a particular distaste for service in the tropics. After six years of battling against Napoleon, many of them were probably tired of war and wished to return to their own affairs. Even with special inducements these men went to America against their will. When the inducements failed to materialize, and the war turned out to be even fiercer than they had imagined, one can understand their readiness to flee.

Yet apart from this basic explanation of the events which occurred, another factor played a part in the morale and performance of the army—politics. In Cádiz during the Revolution of 1820 the army served the interests of certain political leaders, and the military malaise was also put to good use in America. There numerous events indicate that political alliances and hostilities were more important to some men than the course of the war. This is simply another manifestation of the same basic attitude exhibited by the common infantryman who was so inclined to desert; the apathy and discontent which affected him also affected his superiors. But the symptoms of his superiors were not apt to be cured by bolting into the jungle at the start of a battle. The officers would stay on the scene and loudly protest their loyalty to the cause, but jeopardize the entire war effort and at the same time reveal their indifference to it by pursuing their political rivalries. As it happened, the principal actors in these political episodes were liberals, a fact which is not difficult to explain. Back in 1811 and 1812 there had been liberals in Cádiz who advocated force to defeat the rebels in the colonies, but Ferdinand VII so expanded the policy with the mammoth (for Spain) expedition of General Morillo that force in America came to be identified as his own absolutist policy. After the restoration in 1814 the king alienated many Spaniards by his merciless repression of the liberals, particularly those involved with the Cádiz Constitution of 1812. Henceforth anyone with even lukewarm liberal sympathies would have viewed with distaste the prospect of serving with the king’s troops in America. The real war to them was the one at home against royal despotism. Such men who were forced to serve in the colonies were not particularly enthusiastic about the cause, nor were they always loyal to the king’s viceroys and captains-general.

The first manifestation of these political tensions appeared in 1814 and 1815 when Morillo’s expedition was preparing to leave Cádiz. Contemporaries were aware that Freemasons and other secret societies were then attempting to turn the soldiers against Ferdinand and frequently succeeding. No doubt many of the rivalries which broke out among the troops after their arrival in Costa Firme were planted among them by the Masons and other liberals. There are many other striking incidents to choose from. A particularly intriguing case is that of Javier Mina, a Spaniard who led an army to fight against his own countrymen for the freedom of Mexico.

Javier Mina was the nephew and comrade-in-arms of a brilliant hero in the War for Independence, the famed guerrilla fighter from Aragón, Francisco Espoz y Mina. Both men were suspect because of their known revolutionary tendencies, but while the older of the two was treated with disdain, Javier was offered the command of a division in Mexico. This offer, incidentally, lends credence to the belief that the king was not averse to using the distant war in the colonies to rid himself of troublesome liberals. Javier refused the command indignantly and said openly what certain other Spanish liberals no doubt believed but lacked the courage to express. The Spanish government was acting, he declared, “as though the cause that the Americans defend was different from that which raised the Spanish people to glory . . . and as though I would be the executioner of an innocent people. . ..”67 The two cousins, working together, fomented an uprising in Pamplona against the hated king, whom Javier described bitterly as “the very one whom Spain had ransomed with rivers of blood . . . and [who had] made her bow again under . . . tyranny and fanaticism. . ..”68 The plot failed, and Javier escaped. In exile he decided to go beyond neutrality in the fight against the Mexican revolutionaries—he would fight in their behalf. His decision no doubt owed something to a £2000 pension which the British government granted him, but it was also in large part a product of idealism. A third motive could well have been revenge against Ferdinand VII. After soliciting support in both England and the United States, and after various reversals of fortune, he finally landed on the Mexican coast in 1816 with a tiny expeditionary force of 270 men. He and his soldiers fought against overwhelming odds for about a year before he was finally captured and executed in 1816.69 Mina’s expedition so outraged the Spanish press that instead of trying to conceal it from the public, the editors gave daily accounts of the rebel’s acts in extravagant and bloodcurdling detail. His capture and death were widely hailed as a fitting end to such treachery, and the men who apprehended him received generous awards and decorations.70 The official explanation for his conduct was that he was another victim of “unbridled ambition.”71 This may have been the case. But at the same time he seemed to be rebelling in a particularly spectacular manner against the king’s absolutism.

When the news arrived in America that the restored Constitution of 1812 was supposed to be promulgated there and obeyed by all authorities, the animosities of several years burst into the open. Rivalries between absolutists and constitutionalists (paralleling those in Spain itself) all too often became more important than the conduct of the war against the rebelling colonists.

In 1821 Viceroy Juan Ruiz de Apodaca of New Spain so alienated many of his officers and men that on July 5 some of the officers staged a coup and forced him to relinquish command to Field Marshal Francisco Novella. An anonymous veteran analyzed the reasons for this event in a pamphlet of 1822, citing numerous instances of incompetence on the part of the viceroy and telling of dissension among some of the officers. In one incident the Battalion of Murcia asked for reinforcements, and the viceroy sent only 700 men. These men, wrote the veteran, “undertook the march under terrible disillusionment, and although they were all Europeans the fire of discord devoured their officers. . .. Many of those soldiers were seduced by the papers which the enemy circulated . . ., as a result of which a great number passed over to the enemy, and the rest succumbed shamefully because of the inability and cowardice of the chief who commanded.”72

While this tragic episode reveals a measure of incompetence on the part of the viceroy and disloyalty among certain officers, were these factors the sole reasons for overthrowing Apodaca? As early as 1815 the Spanish army in New Spain had suffered from desertions and poor command; yet the viceroy was not overthrown.73 The coup occurred in 1821, one may suspect, because in that year Apodaca was known to be “horrified” at the new constitutional regime in Spain and did not want to proclaim the constitution. His vacillation angered liberal officers, for it challenged the validity of the code and led many people in New Spain to “doubt that they had to respect it.” As a result, one liberal complained that “an apathetic government, instead of invigorating the law, deprived it of its force. . ..”74 Like many liberals in Spain itself, the liberal officers in America expected the constitution to attract most of the rebels back to the mother country. Apodaca’s reluctance to accept it struck them as treasonable, tantamount to giving up the last chance to save the empire.

Political differences among the soldiers led them to mutiny against the high command. Insubordination and apathy were widespread, and one doubts whether under such circumstances the army could ever have defeated an enemy. These political dissensions in America were not confined to any one province; during the same year that Apodaca was overthrown in New Spain, Viceroy Joaquín de la Pezuela was ousted from Peru under strikingly similar circumstances and probably for the same reasons.

As a general Pezuela had gained many victories for the king, but his liberal officers later maintained that upon assuming the office of viceroy in 1816, he was responsible for a series of catastrophic defeats, including the Battle of Maipú and the loss of an important ship, the María Isabel.75 The situation was already serious when the advance of San Martín’s army in 1820 made it intolerable. According to Jerónimo Valdés (one of these officers), when Pezuela learned of the approaching army “he acted as San Martín himself would have acted; which is to say, he diminished his troops. . ..”76 By 1821 the Spanish army was blockaded by land and sea, and morale was so low that every day brought new desertions among both soldiers and officers, “and there existed among the loyal men the most melancholy discontentment.”77 In addition to his lethargy, the much maligned viceroy aroused further comment by a series of foolish appointments—in particular by placing suspected traitors in command of the two provinces of Trujillo and Guayaquil.78

The result of these circumstances was one of the most celebrated incidents of the Spanish-American wars. A group of Spanish officers, including many leading figures of the army—Jerónimo Valdés, García Camba, Francisco Narváez, Antonio Seoane, and others—forced Pezuela by a coup to resign his office.79 It is quite possible to accept the officers’ explanation that the overthrow of Pezuela was justified by the very real danger in which the army of Peru found itself or to argue that, even if a grievous act of insubordination, it was partly brought on by the viceroy’s unpopularity.80 Many accounts, both contemporary and more recent, do not attribute the incident to anything more than these two possible causes.81 But although both undoubtedly played a part in the coup, it would be a mistake to ignore the obvious political implications of what occurred. On one hand Pezuela, like Apodaca, was distressed and disgusted by the proclamation of the constitution in 1820 and likewise delayed promulgating it.82 On the other hand all of the officers who took part in his ouster were liberals. Some American witnesses at the time even stated openly that Pezuela fell because of “the existence in the Spanish Army of a constitutional party”; it was a fact acknowledged by all sides that some of the Spanish generals had already tried to take over power by establishing a military junta to dictate policy to the viceroy.83

The political significance of Pezuela’s fall becomes even more apparent in the light of an incident which occurred shortly afterwards to the embarrassment of the succeeding viceroy, José de la Serna. At the end of 1823, when in Spain the constitution had once again been abolished and the king restored to his full arbitrary power, General Antonio Olañeta was defending La Paz, Cochabamba, and Osuro against the onslaught of Bolívar. Olañeta suddenly left his post, persuaded the squadron of dragoons from Tarifa to join him, collected all the other forces from the Desaguadero River to Potosí, and took over the entire latter province. Next he attacked General Rafael Maroto, the Spaniard in command of Charcas, and took over that province as well.84

How is one to explain such a seemingly treacherous action? Among the reasons advanced are the well-known “hatred” between Olañeta and Maroto; the influence of Olañeta’s nephew, Casimirio; and perhaps even concern for the shaky commercial holdings which Olañeta had been promoting in Peru since 1810 (to the disgust of the military there).85 But the general himself and most of his contemporaries cited a different reason. By a quirk of fate Olañeta learned about the overthrow of the Constitution in Spain and the restoration of King Ferdinand before the main body of the royal army became aware of it; and he apparently hoped to ingratiate himself with the king by pretending that he, of all the officers in Peru, was the only one who had been loyal during the past three years. Thus he attacked La Serna and all the officers under him for being constitutionalists, Jews, and heretics (the latter two points thrown in to please the Catholic king) and set himself up as the only true representative of Spanish interests. Olañeta’s position was untenable, for in 1820 he had written to the viceroy that he had “celebrated the new constitutional institutions with supreme rejoicing. . ..”86 Olañeta’s celebration of the constitution was shortlived; and equally precipitous was the change in his attitude toward the enemy. Espartero maintained that at this same time he saw in the possession of the American generals Arenales and Las Heras, communications from Olañeta “which left no doubt as to his close union with the rebels. . ..”87 Other contemporaries also accepted as fact that he was “in accord with the insurgents” and that he enjoyed “a close and shameful union with the enemies.”88 Throughout 1824, Olañeta harassed the Spanish forces, supposedly communicated with Bolívar, Sucre, and Arenales, and incorporated some of his erstwhile prisoners-of-war into his own ranks. He also made his own contribution to the final, climactic Battle of Ayacucho of December 9, 1824, when Spain in effect lost the empire. In that battle the Spanish army was faced not by one but by two enemies—the American army of General Sucre, and 3,000 soldiers led by Olañeta. Bolívar so appreciated the services of the Spanish general that he published a proclamation urging Peruvians to honor him as “one of their liberators.”89

Olañeta’s record of having once supported the constitution and his later dealings with the enemy prove him to have been an opportunist of the first water.90 In any ease, however, it is significant that he based his entire appeal on a political issue, absolutism versus constitutionalism.91 In this he provides evidence that the downfall of Pezuela had involved the same issue. Olañeta pointedly refused to recognize Pezuela’s successor, La Serna, on the grounds that he was usurping royal authority, and Olañeta appealed to all of Pezuela’s supporters to flock to the new army of absolutism.92 Presumably many of them did. The only really unusual feature of this royalist escapade is that the general was not a liberal—practically the only exception to the usual pattern.93

The Spanish army is a useful instrument by which to measure some of the attitudes current in Spain toward the wars being fought to save the colonies. We can conclude that the troops during the entire period were reluctant to take part in the colonial campaigns. They rebelled before embarking, on the voyage over, and once they reached America. So casual were they toward the fate of the empire that they not only deserted, but frequently joined the ranks of the enemy. In 1820 they prevented the departure of an entire expedition by joining in a liberal revolt against the king, and significantly, they participated in the revolt only until the expedition was dispersed, then quietly slipped out of Riego’s army. It was not to establish the constitution that these troops followed Riego; it was only to escape being sent to America.

In all probability these soldiers were not acting solely out of fear. They were responding also to the apathy of the Spanish public and to a conviction that their sacrifices would be in vain and their death unmourned. They were distressed at the prevalent apathy and especially at the way that political protaganists of both sides—but especially the liberals—exploited the fears and tensions of the war for their own ends.

These were not normal times. One suspects that had Spain been faced by revolts of this magnitude in its empire fifty years earlier, the public would have enthusiastically supported any effort to put them down. On the other hand, one could argue that fifty years earlier it had mattered considerably less what the public thought, for since that time even the rigid absolutism of Spain had suffered severe and irreparable cracks. By 1814, men who formerly had been content to criticize Manuel Godoy in the safe confines of literary salons had now had a taste of power. For six years they had governed the country in a time of great national crisis—for which they were rightly proud—and at the same time they had written into the Constitution of 1812 all of the rights and freedoms which they so avidly espoused. Yet in 1814, not only were their services ignored or ridiculed; all that they had done was totally and ruthlessly abolished, and they themselves were hunted down like criminals. Thereafter, many of them had but one goal: revenge against Ferdinand VII. On the surface this dedication of theirs had nothing to do with the revolts in the colonies, but in fact it had a considerable bearing on them.

From the madcap escapade of Javier Mina to the wrecking of the 1820 expedition, the liberals as a whole severely impeded the king’s recovery of his empire. They began to play on the fears of the soldiers as early as 1814, and their propaganda intended more than merely frightening the men against the expedition: it was also aimed at embarrassing the king. How else can one explain why the mutineers of the Trinidad sailed, not to a neutral country, but to the port of Buenos Aires where they gave information to the enemy? The most spectacular example, the seduction of the 1820 expedition, identified the liberals with an attitude of leniency if not indifference towards the colonies. This position was to prove embarrassing between 1820 and 1823 (when they again fell from power).

In the New World also, political battles begun in the peninsula were pursued with fervor, regardless of whether they disrupted military campaigns. Particularly after the revolution of 1820, liberals and conservatives fought for power at the expense of the war effort, with the liberals winning the most important positions. After the overthrow of Pezuela, the army of Peru was identified as a hotbed of leftists, especially after the same officers were defeated in the great battle at Ayacucho in 1824. With each passing year the ouster of the viceroy was attributed more to political than military reasons, and was even held as the cause for losing the battle and the empire.94 Olañeta, who also sought power at the expense of the war, has been regarded as a hero by conservatives ever since. From Mariano Torrente to Enrique Gandía, his intercourse with the enemy and other dubious activities have been passed over, and he has emerged as a great patriot.95 Ayacucho was not even important, asserts Gandía, for it defeated only the constitutionalist branch of the army. “Spanish domination continued to be powerful in Upper Peru, and could have recovered all that was lost if a misplaced bullet had not killed . . . Pedro Antonio de Olañeta, . . . champion of monarchical absolutism in the New World!”96 The posthumous glory of an Olañeta reveals the incredible degree to which the political views of the Spanish officers obscured and undermined the real objective in Peru, as in all Latin America, the reconquest of the colonies.


Research for this article was made possible by grants from Samuel Kunstadter and the American Association of University Women.


Juan López Cancelada, quoted in Jaime Delgado, La independencia de América en la prensa española (Madrid, 1949), 102; “¿Seremos al fin franceses?” El Robespierre español, April 3, 1811, 28.


Alexandre Moreau de Jonnes, Statistique de l’Espagne (Paris, 1834), 235.


It is very difficult indeed to estimate what percentage of the total army in the colonies consisted of Americans. Some regiments were entirely American, such as the Regimiento de Voluntarios de Fernando VII de Veracruz, created in 1810 of local Veracruz businessmen. A list of all the regiments can be found in the Estado Militar de España, in the Guia oficial de España (Madrid, 1816). But unfortunately there is not a breakdown of the troops. According to Laura Ullrick, 2,000 men in Venezuela were Spanish, or about a fifth of the total force there. “Spanish Administration in Venezuela, 1808-1820,” (Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1921). For the sake of convenience I use the term “American” throughout this paper to refer to Latin Americans.


Gazeta de Madrid, June 23, 1812, 709.


According to Captain William Bowles, in Gerald Graham and R. A. Humphreys, The Navy and South America, 1807-23 (London, 1962), 106, 116.


Ibid., 117. See also report of Comisión de Reemplazos, El Universal, April 11, 1814, 402 and April 12, 1814, 407.


Quoted in Anon., Reflexiones en contestación al artículo comunicado inserto en el Universal número 169. . .. (Madrid, 1821).


El Amigo de las Leyes, April 12, 1813, 134.


José Cevallos, Representación hecha por ——— . . ., September 15, 1812. Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid (hereafter cited as BN), MS 18632.


Diario de Juan Verdades, February 4, 1814, 105.


Pedro de Urquinaona y Pardo, Relación documentada del origen y progresos del trastorno de las provincias de Venezuela . . . (Madrid, 1820), 131, 133. His italics.


José Mariano Aloy to Excmo. Sr. Ingen.° Gral. de los Rs. Extos, Puerto Cabello, August 4, 1814. Madrid, Servicio Histórico Militar (hereafter cited as SHM), Ms 1-1-7-26.


Laura Ullrick, “Morillo’s Attempt to Pacify Venezuela,” HAHR, III (November 1920), 535. Between 1810 and 1826, the total number sent, according to one contemporary, was 30,000. José Presas, Pintura de los males que ha causado á la España el gobierno absoluto . . . (Burdeos, 1827), 101.


Michael Quin, Memorias históricas sobre Fernando VII, trans. by Joaquín García Jiménez (Valencia, 1840), I, 171.


Rafael Sevilla, Memorias de un oficial del ejército español . . . (Madrid, [1916]), 22.


Ullrick, “Morillo ’s Attempt,” 536.


Sevilla, Memorias, 24.


Ibid., 41. The Americans tried to make propaganda of the incident, claiming that American prisoners had been left in the hold, an accusation hotly denied by the Spaniards. George Flinter, A History of the Revolution of Caracas . . . (London, 1819), 184.


Andrés García Camba, Memorias para la historia de las armas españolas en el Perú (Madrid, 1846), I, 178.


Ullrick, “Morillo’s Attempt,” 546. The only major officer who gave Morillo his complete devotion, according to Ullrick, was Miguel de la Torre (who succeeded him).


Quoted in ibid., 554.


Desertions were so well known in Spain that they entered the literature of the period. See, for example, Idelfonso Bermejo’s novel, Espartero. Novela contemporánea . . . (Madrid, 1845), I, 266 ff.


Sevilla, Memorias, 50.


Correspondence of D. Pascual En————(?), letters No. 19, 29, and 36. Archivo Histórico Nacional, Madrid, Torrepando Collection (hereafter cited as TP, AHN), Leg. 6, capeta 13.


Ibid., June 30, Leg. 3, No. 87.


Ibid., Leg. 10, capeta 26, No. 4.


Ibid., June 30, Leg. 3, No. 87.


Ibid., Antonio Tovar to Miguel de la Torre, Leg. 6, Capeta 12, No. 28.


“Correspondencia . . . sobre reemplazos y desertores del Ejército,” ibid., Leg. 6, Capeta 12, No. 28.


Pedro Mayoz to José Casata, ibid., Leg. 4, no number; and M. de Casa to General-in-Chief, ibid., Leg. 4, no number.


This quotation is taken from a petition of fourteen officers, July 3, 1820, for release from service. Ibid., Leg. 10, Capeta 27, No. 114.


This was Cartagena de las Indias. Ibid., January 8, 1821, Leg. 4, no number.


Ibid., March 31, 1821, Leg. 4, No. 51.


Captain William Bowles to Secretary of Admiralty Croker, Amphion at sea, January 4, 1818, in Graham and Humphrey, The Navy and South America, 218. For British comments on Spanish desertion see The Correspondence of Lord Burghersh 1808-40 (London, 1912), 26, 31, 37.


Captain William H. Sheriff, Callao, February 5, 1821, in ibid., 326.


As in the defection of Col. D. Arana and 1,000 men in October 1820, since his battalion was known to have only natives in it. Morillo to Secretario del Estado y del Despacho Universal de la Guerra, October 11, 1820, TP, AHN, Leg. 3, No. 70.


Ibid., Leg. 6, Capeta 12, No. 32.


Bowles to Croker, January 4, 1818 in Graham and Humphreys, The Navy and South America, 218.


Ibid., 219.


See Sevilla, Memorias, 79, 106, 125, and 208.


La Gazeta de Madrid, September 7, 1815, 1045 and April 4, 1816, 344.


José García de León y Pizarro, Memorias (2 vols., Madrid, 1953), I, 265 ff.


Carlos Calvo, Anales históricos de la Revolución de la América Latina (5 vols., Paris, 1864-1867), IV, 4-6. Calvo credits them with the loss of the María Isabel, for they revealed the ship’s destination. The liberal officers in Peru blamed the loss on Viceroy Pezuela.


El Español Constitucional, December, 1818, 30.5.


Marqués de Villa Urrutia, Fernando VII, Rey absoluto (Madrid, 1931), 165.


Michael Quin, A Visit to Spain . . . (London, 1823), 158. Other contemporaries did not admire him. See Carlos LeBrun, Retratos políticos de la Revolución de España (Philadelphia, 1826), 127; and Anon., Galería en miniatura de los más célebres periodistas . . . (Madrid, 1822), 26. For a recent biography, see Felipe Ximénez de Sandoval, Antonio Alcalá Galiano, el hombre que no llegó (Madrid, 1948).


The group usually met at the house of Francisco de Isturiz in Cádiz. Antonio Alcalá Galiano (trans. and partial author), Historia de España . . . by S. A. Dunham (7 vols., Madrid, 1844-1846), VII, 65.


See the discussion of José Luis Comellas, Los primeros pronunciamientos en España, 1814-1820 (Madrid, 1958), 308 ff.


See ibid., 308.


Alcalá Galiano, Historia, VII, 64.


Ullrick, “Morillo’s Attempt,” 561.


Alcalá Galiano, Historia, VII, 65.


Ramón de Santillán, Memorias (1815-1856) (2 vols., Pamplona, 1960), I, 9.


Ibid. This was a far cry from the rumors which reached America that the expedition would have 26,000 men, or twice as many as it in fact had. See Bowles to Croker, August 13, 1819, in Graham and Humphreys, The Navy and South America, 273.


Ramón de Santillán, Memorias, I, 9.


C. Laumier, Histoire de la Révolution d’Espagne en 1820; précédés d’un aperçu du Regne de Ferdinand VII (Paris, 1820), 152.


Antonio Ballesteros y Beretta, Historia de España y su influencia en la historia universal (7 vols., Barcelona, 1918-1941), VII, 167.


Ferran Soldevila, Historia de España (3 vols., Barcelona, 1957), VI, 375-376. The number of works written on the revolt is quite large. See, for example, Eugenia Astur, Riego y la revolución del año veinte (Oviedo, 1933); and of course, Comellas, Los primeros pronunciamientos, 303-353. For further bibliography, see Ballesteros y Beretta, Historia, VII, 165-166.


Comellas, Los primeros pronunciamientos, 332.


José Presas, quoted in ibid., 309.


Quoted in Diario de Barcelona, February 9, 1820, 314.


Gaceta Patriótica del Ejército Nacional, February 29, 1820, 85.


Bowles to Croker, February 13, 1819, in Graham and Humphreys, The Navy and South America, 260.


Bowles to Croker, April 3, 1819, in ibid., 267.


Espectador, September 7, 1821, 582.


As translated and quoted by Harris Gaylord Warren, “The Origin of General Mina’s Invasion of Mexico,” The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XLII (1938), 3.


Translated and quoted in ibid., 2. By “ransom” he is referring to the fact that the Spanish public believed that in 1808 King Ferdinand was kidnapped by Napoleon. Napoleon insisted that the Spanish king go to Bayonne, but the latter did so voluntarily and was not “kidnapped.”


See William Davis Robinson, Memoirs of the Mexican Revolution; including a narrative of the expedition of General Xavier Mina (London, 1821), I, 81-102; and H. G. Warren, “Xavier Mina’s Invasion of Mexico,” HAHR, XXIII (February 1943), 52-76. For a personal account of the expedition, see the report of J. M. Hebb of April 30, 1819, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Papeles de Estado, Audiencia de México, Leg. 14, No. 3, 14-52, located in the Ayer Collection of the Newberry Library (Chicago). Mexico was a temptation to other international expeditions also. See V. Vital-Hawell, “El aspecto internacional de las usurpaciones americanas en las provincias españoles . . . de 1810 a 1814,” Revista de Indias, XXV (January-June 1965), 115-154.


Robinson, Memoirs, II, 119. Apodaca, for example, received the title of Conde de Venadito. See Gazeta de Madrid, January 27, 1818, 96-97; March 3, 1818, 228-231; August 4, 1817, 861-863.


See Mariano Torrente, Historia de la revolución hispano-americana (3 vols., Madrid, 1829-1830), I, 373.


Anon., Compendio de los acontecimientos de Nueva España desde el año 1810, hasta la pérdida de aquella parte de la monarquía española (La Coruña, 1822), 6.


D. Juan Comargo, Memorias sobre el Reyno de Nueva España, Provincias internas y Californias . . ., Veracruz, October 24, 1815. MS at SUM, 46.


Anon., Compendio de los acontecimientos, 5.


Jerónimo Valdés, Exposición que dirige al rey don Fernando VII sobre las causas que motivaron la pérdida del Perú (Madrid, 1894), 28. Pezuela’s responsibility for Maipú has been denied by his defenders. There is more evidence to charge him with the loss of the María Isabel. Significantly, the anonymous sympathetic author of Personajes célebres del siglo XIX . . . (3 vols., Madrid, 1843), III, 13, makes a point of ignoring the subject.


Valdés, Exposición, 32.


García Camba, Memorias, I, 369.


Valdés, Exposición, 37-39.


See José Canterac, et al., Copia del oficio que los gefes del ejército nacional pasaron al Escelentísimo señor virrey del Perú don Joaquín de la Pezuela (Madrid, 1821), 1.


From the time he replaced the “affable and benevolent” Viceroy Abascal in 1816, Pezuela suffered from unpopularity. See Juan Larrange, Noticias sobre el Perú, MS 2005425, BN.


In the Diario de Barcelona very little was said except that Pezuela had resigned for reasons of health, “heeding the general vote of the troops.” La Serna was widely praised. See June 27, 1821, 1282.


Torrente, Historia, III, 29.


Quoted by Valdés, Exposición, 11; García Camba, Memorias, I, 369; Anon., Personages célèbres, 15ff; and see also, John Miller, Memoirs of General Miller. . . (2 vols., London, 1828), I, 282.


Valdés, Exposición, 65ff. See also García Camba, Memorias, II, passim.


Valdés, Exposición, 63. On Casimirio and the commercial holdings, see Torrente, Historia, III, 450ff.


Valdés, Exposición, Appendix 31, 158-159.


Ibid., 66.


Pedro Chamorro y Baquerizo, Biografía del ecselentísmo [sic.] Sr. . . D. José Santos de la Hera . . . (Madrid, 1853), 27. Of course, a biographer of La Hera would be expected to take a critical view of his enemy, Olañeta.


Valdés, Exposición, Appendix 50, 194.


According to Valdés (ibid., 7) Olañeta was trying to establish himself in a position of power so that he might take over as viceroy of Buenos Aires.


Ballesteros y Beretta, Historia, VII, 413.


Anon., Personages célèbres, 23; Valdés (Exposición, 7) calls them “Pezuelistas.”


In 1821, Miguel Valbuena complained to La Torre of a colonel of the Cazadores de León, whose company was suffering from his “blind obstinacy in opposing the constitutional system” which all of his men had “happily accepted.” Cartagena de las Indias, January 8, 1821, TP AHN, Leg. 4, no number.


Fifteen years later Espartero was popularly known in Spain as the head of the “ayacuchos,” a leftist political clique, comprised mainly of liberals who had fought together in Peru. The career of this clique is further evidence of the effects, both direct and indirect, which the war in the colonies had on Spanish politics. See Margaret L. Woodward, “Spanish Apathy and American Independence (1810-1843),” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, 1964), Chapter VII.


Torrente, Historia, III, 510. Torrente admits, however, that the discord within the Spanish forces was the main cause of the defeat (p. 503).


Enrique Gandía, “Las guerras de los absolutistas y liberales en América,” Revista de Indias, XIV (July-December 1954), 408. Olañeta was murdered by his own men in February 1825.

Author notes


The author is a Lecturer in History at the University of Michigan.