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San Martin

Short history of the liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru.

Argentina Spanish Text


San Martin was born in Yapeyu, in the Argentine province of Corrientes, beside the mighty Uruguay river, on February 25th 1778.

Gregoria Matorras, madre de San Martin

His father, Don Juan de San Martin, was the governor of the department; her mother, Doña Gregoria Matorras, was the niece of a conqueror of the Chaco´s wild forests

don Juan de San Martin

In 1786 he is transferred to Spain with his family, where he studies in the Noble Seminary of Madrid and, in 1789, he initiates his military career in the regiment of Murcia. he serves in the army of Spain during the wars against the French and in 1808 he fights in the battle of Baylen against Napoleon´s army that had invaded the Peninsula.

In the city of Cadiz he knows other South American officers and he joins the lodges that promoted the independence. In 1811 he resigns his military career in Spain and embarks in the sail ship George Canning from England to Buenos Aires, where he arrives the 9 of March of 1812 accompanied by other friends.

The independent government of Buenos Aires accepts the services of San Martin, recognizes his degree of lieutenant colonel and orders him to create a cavalry corps that soon would be the glorious regiment of Mounted Grenadiers. In that same year he married Maria Remedies de Escalada, that belonged to a distinguished family of the country. He creates the Lautaro lodge, whose objective was to liberate South America of the Spanish yoke. In October of 1812, the members of the lodge head a movement that intends to remove some members of the First Triunvirato (the government). Pacifically, the Town Hall names a Segundo Triunvirato, who, soon after, calls to an Assembly of Delegates of the Provinces with the purpose of dictating a Constitution.

Combat of San Lorenzo

    On February 3rd, 1813, the Mounted Grenadiers fought and won their first combat, near the ravines of San Lorenzo, against the Spanish disembarkation army that arrived with several ships from the port of Montevideo.

In January of 1814, San Martin takes control of the North Army, from the hands of its former general, Belgrano, that had returned defeated from the Alto Peru -today the republic of Bolivia-, and since then, they establish a long friendship.

Soon after being San Martin in Tucuman, he realized that it was impossible to conquer Lima city, the capital of Peru, that was the center of the Spanish power, by the terrestrial way of the highs of the Andes. He conceived the idea of crossing the mountain range to Chile and to attack the city of Lima by sea way.

A disease forces him to request license and obtains from the government the nomination of Governor of the Cuyo province. He leaves Tucuman for Mendoza, capital of Cuyo, a city that stands at the foot of the mountain range of the Andes. There he recovers and begins to prepare an army to cross the Andes.

In the year 1816 he sends, representing the province of Cuyo, a delegation to the congress that met in Tucuman, with express orders to insist on the declaration of independence. Because of his insistence, the declaration of the independence from the rule of Spain of the Provincias Unidas del Rio de la Plata -that was the primitive name of what now is the Argentine Republic- was acclaimed in that congress the 9 of July of that year.

From Mendoza he prepares with little means an army. All the people contributes with their work and goods to make the dangerous expedition. He insists before the government of Buenos Aires to permit to his army the crossing of the Andes to Chile.

Crossing the Andes

    In January of 1817 the crossing of the army begins. They were around 4000 men of infantry, cavalry and artillery and carried provisions for a month. They crossed divided into two columns by the passage of Los Patos and the one of Uspallata, and the two columns met in Santa Rosa of the Andes.

On February 12, 1817 few days after the passage of the Andes, the army, that was given the name "Army of the Andes", wins the battle of Chacabuco and some days after, the Liberator enters the city of Santiago de Chile. The Town hall met the day 18th and designated San Martin Supreme Director, but he resigned that honor and then general Bernardo OHiggins was elect for the position.

In the first days of 1818, a disembarked realistic army from Peru, advanced on the capital of Chile. The 19 of March, in a night attack, the Spanish army defeats the independents in the battle of Cancharrayada and general OHiggins was wounded.

Battle of Maipu

    The United Argentine-Chilean army recovers and on April 5th they defeat completely the Spanish army in the battle of Maipu. That battle ended the Spanish efforts to dominate Chile.

The way to Lima by sea was then opened, but it was necessary to create a fleet that did not exist. With some boats captured to the enemy and others bought to the United States and England, the Chilean navy was created. The first admiral was Blanco Encalada and then took command the English admiral, Lord Cochrane.

The  fleet sails to Peru

    On August 20, 1820 the expeditionary Argentine-Chilean army sails from the port of Valparaiso to Peru.

In the month of July, 1821, San Martin enters triumphant to the city of Lima, proclaims independence, is designated Protective of Peru and exerts the government.

    Independence of Peru

Interview of Guayaquil

    On July 26, 1822 San Martin interviews with Simon Bolivar in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. There they meet both liberators of South America, the one of the north and the one of the south. They talk privily by more than four hours. San Martin returns to Lima the night of the 26.

On September 20 of that year meets in Lima the first Congress of Peru and there the Protective resigns to his office. The same day he embarked for Chile and months later crosses the Andes to Mendoza.

San Martin aged

    On august 3, 1823 his wife dies in Buenos Aires. The 10 of February of 1824, displeased by the civil wars in the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, he embarked for France with his little daughter, Mercedes. There he lived until his death, on august 17, 1850.

Complete text (still in Spanish)

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