José de San Martín



Argentinian Liberator of Southern Cone of South America




1778                José de San Martín was born a South American Spanish citizen in Yapeyú, in Corrientes province, Argentina (Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata); his father was a Spanish military officer.

1789-1808       San Martín lived in Spain

1810                September 18, 1810, the cabildo (town council) of Buenos Aires declared independence from Spain (controlled by France) in order to remain loyal to deposed king Fernando VII of Spain. The cabildo deposed the Viceroy and began to govern in the imprisoned king's name.

1811                He went to London, where he joined the Lautaro Masonic Lodge.

1811                May 14, 1811, Paraguay declared its independence. From 1816 to 1842 José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia was Paraguay's dictator: he isolated Paraguay almost entirely from the rest of the world




1812                Back in Argentina, he joined the patriot army that had rebelled against Spain due to the French occupation of Spain by Napoleon's forces and Napoleon's brother, José.

                        San Martín created the Granaderos cavalry corps

1813                He led a brilliant victory over the Spanish at San Lorenzo. He now realized that for Argentina to remain free the rest of the continent had to be liberated.

1814                He was promoted to the rank of general in the Army of Alto Perú (Upper Peru). At this time the patriot army headquarters moved across the Andes to Chile, and San Martín then moved his army with its new Chilean recruits up to Perú.

1814-1828       Meanwhile, in Uruguay (the Left Bank of the Uruguay River), the independence-minded criollos in capitial city of Montevideo declared independence with José Gervasio Artigas as their leader. In 1816, the Portuguese in Brazil attacked Uruguay, and they captured Montevideo. Again in 1820 Brazil defeated Artigas's forces and annexed Uruguay into Brazil, which was ruled by the Portuguese monarchy for another year. Uruguayans continued to fight against Brazilian control, when, finally, they gained their full independence in 1828. They named their country the República Oriental del Uruguay.

1814-1817       As governor of the Andean province of Cuyo, he spent these years organizing his troops in Cuyo, but he received no new support from Buenos Aires.

                        The Chilean independence leader, Bernardo O'Higgins, who had earlier been defeated by the Spanish royalist forces, joined San Martín in Cuyo.

1816                During an interim while organizing his troops in Cuyo, he left his army to lead the Argentinian separatists' Congreso de Tucumán. This congress declared formal independence and named the new country the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata.

1817                He led his new forces on a brilliant heroic trek over the Andes in winter, the result of which was to take the Spanish colonial forces by surprise in a brilliant victory at Chacabuco, Chile, northeast of Santiago.

1818                In another brilliant maneuver he led his troops to victory over the Spanish forces at Maipú, Chile. The result of this action was Chilean independence, which Chile declared on February 12, 1818.

                        In the capital of Santiago, Chile, San Martín was elected governor of Chile. However, rather than accept any personal honors or the position of governor, he left Bernardo O'Higgins in charge of Chile.

1820                San Martín moved his forces north to Perú by sea because he had allied with Lord Cochrane, a British Admiral, whose navy became, in effect, San Martín's navy against the Spanish enemy.

                        The criollo and other colonial interests and forces in Perú, meanwhile, were not fully ready to revolt against Spain, Perú being the core of traditional Spanish colonial life and power in the entire Spanish empire.

                        He defeated the Spanish army at Pisco, Peru.

                        Therefore, San Martín made a long, slow march to Lima while waiting for new recruits.

1821                San Martín's march to Lima takes place. He defeated the Spanish at Lima on July 10, 1821, and he declared Perú's independence on July 28th, and he took the title of "Protector".

                        Once again, Chile elected him governor at the same time that Spain's viceroy escaped from Lima to northern Perú. It was clear that San Martín would need help from Simón Bolívar in order to defeat the last remnants of the Spanish army in continental Spanish America.

                        Note that 1821 is the year in which Mexicoi.e., all of continental New Spainand Brazil became independent from their respective European colonial powers.

                        Unfortunately for San Martín, Lord Cochrane deserted with his unruly forces.

1822                San Martín went to Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet with Simón Bolívar. As a result of this famous meeting, San Martín humbly withdrew so that Bolívar could take full control of the combined patriot armies.




1822                San Martín's wife dies.

1824                August 6, 1824, at the battle of Junín, Bolívar, without San Martín participation, defeated a Spanish royalist army.

                        December 9, 1824, in the battle of Ayacucho, Perú, Sucre defeated the last royalist forces of the Spanish empire in South America.

1824                San Martín, suffering from tuberculosis, sails to Europe and never returns to Latin America except for a brief moment aboard a ship in the harbor of Buenos Aires in 1829.

1825                August 6, 1825, Upper Peru officially declared its full independence.

                        August 11, 1825, Bolivia declared its independence and took the name of Bolivia.

1850                San Martín dies in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Calais, France, near the English Channel.