The Age of Spanish American Revolutions:
Early military campaigns



North from Buenos Aires

Francisco Xavier Iturri Patiño, Proclama del mas perseguido Americano á sus paysanos de la noble, leal, y valerosa ciudad de Cochabamba (Buenos-Ayres: En la Real Imprenta de Niños Expósitos, 1810).

Spain’s liberal constitution did not deter the push for independence in South America. From Buenos Aires, the Army of the North pushed into Upper Peru, today’s Bolivia. Iturri Patiño, the author of this piece, was a native of Cochabamba, but resided in Buenos Aires. As Republican forces moved northward, this pamphlet, in Spanish and Quechua, urged the residents of his natal city to "receive with open arms these heroes, these generous... Portenos, who, leaving the sweet peace they enjoyed in this city in their homeland, and have risked their lives to protect your freedom... to shake the heavy yoke of the oppressors from our shoulders."

Acquired with the assistance of the JCB Associates fund


Victory at Tucuman

Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, Por parte que acaba de llegar del Exército Del Perù, se ha recibido la plausible noticia que consta del oficio siguiente. (Buenos Aires: s.n, 1812).
Under the command of Manuel Belgrano, the Army of the North faced Royalist forces in the city of Tucumán in late September 1812, despite having been ordered to retreat to Córdoba. Belgrano’s victory, over a force three times as large, ensured La Plata a stronger tactical position and resulted in the capture of arms and munitions vital to the prosecution of the war, which is detailed in this broadside.

Acquired with the assistance of the JCB Associates and Harper funds


Chile: la Patria Vieja

Aurora De Chile, periodico ministerial, y politico. (Santiago de Chile: En la imprenta de este Superior Gobierno, 1812).  

In Chile to the west, although there had been stirrings towards independence, the majority of the population and political elites were Royalists. Even with news of the formation of the Regency government in Spain and the May Revolution in Buenos Aires, political elites were divided, and the junta government, to varying degrees, did not favor independence. José Miguel Carrera returned from Spain to Santiago in 1811 and led a coup that began the push for independence. Among his efforts, he created national symbols and promoted the establishment of a newspaper, the Aurora de Chile. Printed on a press brought from the United States by United States printers, the editors of the Aurora de Chile spoke out strongly for independence. The paper carried news from Europe and the United States, including a transcription of Washington’s farewell address. The Aurora de Chile countered news of Republican defeats elsewhere with news of the strength of “patriotic forces” in Upper Peru (Bolivia).

Acquired with the assistance of the Divestiture fund


Unassailable Callao

Chile, El gobierno a la division, que parte de la capital (Santiago de Chile: s.n, 1813).  

Similarly, this broadside issued in Chile is an exhortation to the force being sent to the Royalist island stronghold of Callaó, promising, “the public will not spare any sacrifice or cost to sustain you, your pay will not be delayed, and all will be perfectly fed and clothed.” The assault was unsuccessful, however, and the island remained in Royalist hands until the final decisive defeat at Ayacucho in 1824.


Early victories in the South

Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, El supremo poder executivo de las Provincias Unidas Del Rio De La Plata á las legiones invictas del Exército Del Perù. (Buenos Aires: Imprenta de Niños Expósitos.,[1813], n.d.).  

Republican forces enjoyed significant victories in 1812 and 1813. This government broadside from La Plata recounts the victories at Tarija, Cinti, Tupiza, Potosí and Charcas, saying “your enemies themselves owe their existence to your generosity,” and urges forces onwards to Upper Peru. Upper Peru would be one of the last regions to surrender to the Republicans, even after the Battle of Ayacucho.

Acquired with the assistance of the JCB Associates fund

manifiesto International appeals

Chile, Manifiesto del gobierno de Chile a las naciones de America y Europa (Santiago: En la Imprenta de Gobierno P.D.J.G[i.e.C]. Callardo [i.e. Gallardo], 1813).  

Chile under Carrera also witnessed the reception of the first United States envoy to Latin America, Joel Roberts Poinsette. Great Britain was deeply involved in Spain’s defense against Napoleon’s forces, and many in Chile sought to maintain trade ties with their ally, however another group sought to cultivate trade ties with the young United States.

Ending forced labor

Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, Decreto: la asamblea general sanciona el decreto expedido por la junta provisional gubernativa de estas provincias en 1.o de setiembre de 1811, relativo á la extincion del tributo, y ademas derogada la mita, las encomiendas… (Buenos Aires: Imprenta de Niños Expósitos, 1813).  

As the Regency government is Spain had sought to appeal to the indigenous population, so too did the Republicans in the Americas. The mita and the encomienda were two systems of forced labor that had been imposed on the indigenous population from the earliest days following the conquest. The General Assembly of La Plata did away with both in 1811, and this broadside, in Castilian, Aymara, Quechua and Guaraní, reiterates this abolition in 1813.

Acquired with the assistance of the Metcalf fund

Law of the Free Womb

Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, El supremo poder executivo provisorio de las Provincias Unidas del Rio De La Plata à los que la presente viesen, oyesen, y intendiesen. (Buenos Aires: s.n, 1813).
Likewise, many if not all Spanish American regions had a large population of slaves and free people of color, and slavery was not finally abolished in La Plata until 1853. Nevertheless, there were segregated militias of free people of color from the 18th century, and black soldiers, both slave and free, were important parts of the Republican armies. This broadside, announcing the Law of the Free Womb, was the first step towards abolition, declaring the freedom of all children born to slaves after 31 January 1813.
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