Battle of Ayacucho

The Battle of Ayacucho (Spanish: Batalla de Ayacucho, IPA: [baˈtaʎa ðe aʝaˈkutʃo]) was a decisive military encounter during the Peruvian War of Independence. It was the battle that secured the independence of Peru and ensured independence for the rest of South America. In Peru it is considered the end of the Spanish American wars of independence, although the campaign of the victor Antonio José de Sucre, continued through 1825 in Upper Peru and the siege of the fortresses Chiloé and Callao finally ended in 1826.

As of late 1824, Royalists still had control of most of the south of Peru as well as of Real Felipe Fort in the port of Callao. On 9 December 1824, the Battle of Ayacucho (Battle of La Quinua) took place at Pampa de Ayacucho (or Quinua), a few kilometers away from Ayacucho, near the town of Quinua between Royalist and Independentist forces. Independentist forces were led by Simón Bolívar's lieutenant Sucre. Viceroy José de la Serna was wounded, and after the battle second commander-in-chief José de Canterac signed the final capitulation of the Royalist army.

The modern Peruvian Army celebrates the anniversary of this battle.

Battle of Ayacucho
Part of the Peruvian War of Independence
Martin Tovar y Tovar 01

The Battle of Ayacucho, by Antonio Herrera Toro from studies by Martín Tovar y Tovar
Date9 December 1824

Decisive Independentist Victory

  • Capitulation of the Royalist Army
  • End of Spanish rule in South America
Monarchy of Spain
Commanders and leaders
Bandera de Angostura (20 de noviembre de 1817).svg Antonio José de Sucre
Flag of Peru (1822-1825).svg Agustín Gamarra
Spain Viceroy La Serna (WIA)
Spain José de Canterac

United Liberation Army [1] Total: 5780[2]-8500[3] men

Flag cross burgundy lessercoat.PNG Royalist Army [10] Total: 6906-9310 men [11]

Casualties and losses
979 2,100 killed or captured
3,500 prisoners


In 1820 Spain began what would shortly become a political disaster. An expedition of 20,000 soldiers waiting to be sent to Río de la Plata to help the royalists of America revolted under the encouragement of General Rafael Riego. In the subsequent weeks the revolt spread and King Ferdinand VII was forced to restore the liberal Spanish Constitution of 1812, which he had suppressed six years earlier. This event ended Spain's ability to send reinforcements to America, which in turn eventually forced the royalist armies of the viceroyalties of Peru and New Spain (today's Mexico), which had contained the Spanish American revolution so far, to deal with the patriot forces on their own. The royalists in each viceroyalty, however, took different paths.

In New Spain, royalists, after defeating the insurgents, proclaimed a negotiated separation from Liberal Spain through the Plan of Iguala, which they negotiated with the remaining patriots, and the Treaty of Córdoba, which they negotiated with the new head of government, Juan O'Donojú. In Peru Viceroy Joaquín de la Pezuela was discredited after a royalist expedition to Chile under Mariano Osorio was defeated and advances in Peru were made by José de San Martín. The viceroy was overthrown on 29 January 1821, in Asnapukyu (Aznapuquio), in a coup by General José de la Serna, who proclaimed his adhesion to the restored Spanish Constitution.

The independentists started the new year with a promising victory. At Cerro de Pasco they defeated a Peruvian royalist army commanded by Viceroy La Serna. However, the royalists had received solid military training. Their first victory came against the independentist army commanded by Domingo Tristán and Agustín Gamarra in campaigns in the Ica Region. A year later, San Martin had withdrawn from the scene after the Interview of Guayaquil and royalist forces had smashed Rudecindo Alvarado's Liberating Expedition in campaigns in Torata and Moquegua. The year 1823 ended with the La Serna destroying another patriot army commanded by Andrés de Santa Cruz and Agustín Gamarra in yet another open campaign in Puno, which started with the Battle of Zepita and the resulted in the occupation of La Paz on 8 August. After scattering Santa Cruz's isolated troops. La Serna recaptured Arequipa after beating Antonio José de Sucre's Gran Colombian force on 10 October. Sucre decided to evacuate the Gran Colombian troops, setting sail on 10 October 1823, saving himself and his troops, although losing the best of his cavalry. Viceroy La Serna ended the campaign after reaching Oruro in Upper Peru.

On the political front, the last remnants of optimism among patriots faded away with accusations of treason against Peruvian presidents José de la Riva Agüero and José Bernardo de Tagle. Riva Agüero deported deputies of the Peruvian Congress and organized another congress in Trujillo. After being found guilty of high treason by the Peruvian Congress [14] he was banished to Chile. This act, in turn, was considered by Simón Bolívar to be treasonous. Tagle, who had earlier ordered all armies under his command to support Bolívar against the royalist enemy, was now pursued by Bolívar, who was looking to capture and execute him.[15] Tagle took shelter with the royalists in the fortress of Callao, which was under siege.

Nevertheless, by the end of 1823, the situation had started to become critical for those who defended the king's cause. In spite of the impressive military triumphs, Bolívar's request for reinforcements from Colombia made him a threat to the royalist army. Both sides prepared for the confrontation they knew was coming:

"Viceroy la Serna for his part, without direct communications with the Peninsula, with the most sad news of the state of the Metropolis [Spain] […] and reduced to its own and exclusive resources, but nobly trusting in his subordinates’ decision, union, loyalty and fortune, hurried the reorganization of his troops and prepared for the fight with the giant of Costafirme [Venezuela] that he saw coming soon. Another triumph for Spanish armies in that situation would make the Castilian flag wave again with unmatchable glory even to Ecuador; but another fate was already irrevocably written in the books of destiny.[16]

Buenos Aires Truce and Callao Revolt

Historian Rufino Blanco Fombona says that "By 1824 Bernardino Rivadavia had made a pact with Spanish, obstructing the Ayacucho Campaign":[17] on 4 July 1823 Buenos Aires made a truce with Spanish commissionaires (Preliminary Peace Convention (1823)) that forced it to send negotiators to other South American governments so that it could take effect.[18] It was stipulated that hostilities would cease 60 days after its ratification and would subsist over a year and half; meanwhile, a definitive peace and friendship would be negotiated. This was the reason for which they had a meeting in Salta Juan Gregorio de Las Heras city with brigadier Baldomero Espartero, obtaining no agreement. Among other measures taken by the viceroy for containing the imminent rebellion, on 10 January 1824 Casimiro Olañeta was ordered:

"I warn Your Excellency that you should not arrange any expedition in any direction over down provinces without my express order because, besides they are having a meeting in Salta trying to negotiate, General Las Heras on Government of Buenos Aires’ side and Brigadier Espartero on this superior Government's side (...)"[19]

Rivadavia believed that the project would establish peace and stop the republicans' efforts to gain authority over Upper Peru, refusing assistance and withdrawing advanced posts,[20] in detriment of the cause of Peru.

The Irish military historian Daniel Florencio O'Leary was of the opinion that with the truce "Buenos Aires has implicitly withdrawn from the struggle",[21] and that "the Buenos Aires Government's pacts with the Spanish, were to the detriment of the American cause".[22]

On 1 January 1824 Bolívar fell terribly ill in Pativilca. At that time, Félix Álzaga, plenipotentiary minister of Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata arrived to Lima, requested Peru to adhere to the truce, which was rejected by the Peruvian Congress. Nevertheless, since 4 February 1824 various quarters of Callao mutinied, leading to the whole Argentine infantry of the Expedición Libertadora, together with some Chilean, Peruvians and Colombians (nearly two thousand men) going over to the royalists,[23] raising the Spanish flag and handing over the fortresses of Callao. The mounted grenadier regiment of the Andes also revolted in Lurin on 14 February: two squadrons went over to the Callao to join the mutiny, but when they noticed that they had joined the royalists, a hundred of them, with their regiment commanders, went to Lima to join the independentists. The unit was then reorganized by General Mariano Necochea. In the midst of these events,[24] the minister of Colombia, Joaquín Mosquera "fearing the ruin of our army" asked Bolivar "and what do you plan to do now?". Bolívar, in a decided manner, answered: "Triumph!".

The events at El Callao extended the war until 1826, and had the immediate result that Lima was occupied by Canterac. It is said that had there been military action against Bolívar on 26 May, it "would have given the final blow to independence in this part of America".[25]

Olañeta's rebellion

Surprisingly, at the start of year 1824, the entire royalist army of Upper Peru (today's Bolivia) revolted, led by Pedro Antonio Olañeta a royalist, against the liberal Viceroy of Peru, after receiving news that the Constitutional Government had fallen in Spain. The Spanish monarch Ferdinand VII and his absolutists followers had recovered control of the government, supported by 132,000 French soldiers from the Holy Alliance army, which would occupy Spain until 1830. Rafael del Riego was hanged on 7 November 1823, and the other leaders of the liberal movement were executed, outlawed, or exiled from Spain. On 1 October 1823 the monarch decreed the abolition of everything approved during the last three years of constitutional government, which included annulling the appointment of La Serna as viceroy of Peru. The scope of the purge of the constitutionalists of Peru seemed absolute.

Olañeta then ordered an attack of the Upper Peruvian royalists on the constitutionalists in the Peruvian viceroyalty.[26] La Serna changed his plans of going down to the coast to fight Bolívar and sent Jerónimo Valdés with a force of 5,000 veterans to cross the River Desaguadero, which took place on 22 January 1824, in order to drive them to Potosí against his former subordinate "because there are indications of a meditated treason, joining the dissidents of Buenos Aires". Memorias para la historia de las armas españolas en el Perú ("Memories for the history of the Spanish armies in Peru") by peninsular official Andrés García Camba (1846) detailed the radical change that the events in Upper Peru produced in the viceroy's defensive plans. After a long campaign in the battles of Tarabuquillo, Sala, Cotagaita, and finally La Lava on 17 August 1824 both royalists forces of Viceroyalty Peru (liberals) and of the provinces of Upper Peru (absolutists) were decimated.

Bolivar, having news of Olañeta's actions, took advantage of the dismantling of the royalist defensive system so that he "moved the whole month of May to Jauja", and faced José de Canterac, who was isolated in Junín on 6 August 1824. Unrelenting prosecution of the war started, with the consequent desertion of 2700 royalists, who immediately went over to the independentists lines. Finally, on 7 October 1824, having his troops right in front of the doors of Cusco, Bolívar gave general Sucre the command of the new battlefront, which followed the course of the Apurímac River, and he withdraw to Lima in order to negotiate more loans to keep the war going in Peru, and to receive a Colombian division of 4000 men given up by Páez which would arrive after Ayacucho.[27]

Ayacucho campaign

Gran marical de ayacucho
Grand Marshal of Ayacucho, Antonio José de Sucre.

The defeat of Canterac's expeditionary forced La Serna to bring Jerónimo Valdés from Potosí, who came on a forced march with his troops. The royalist generals debated their plans. In spite of the signs of support from within the besieged Cusco, the viceroy rejected a direct assault because of his army's lack of training, having been enlarged by the massive return of peasants a few weeks earlier. On the contrary, he intended to cut Sucre's rearguard through march and countermarch maneuvers, which is what led to the encounter in Ayacucho, along the Andean range. Thereby, the royalists planned a quick strike which they made on 3 December in the Battle of Corpahuaico or Matará, where they caused the liberator army more than 500 casualties and the loss of a large part of its ammunition and artillery, to their own losses of only 30 men. However, Sucre and his adjutant managed to keep the troops organized and prevented the viceroy from exploiting this local success. Although having suffered important losses of men and materiel, Sucre preserved the United Army in an ordered retreat, and always situated it in secure positions of difficult access, like Quinoa field.

In his memoirs, In the Service of the Republic of Peru, general Guillermo Miller, offers the point of view of the independentists. Besides Bolívar's and Sucre's talents, the United Army drew on an important body of experienced soldiers: the Rifles battalion of the army of Colombia was composed of European troops, which were mostly British volunteers. This unit was substantially damaged in Corpahuaico. Among its ranks, there were also veterans from the Peninsular War, the American War of Independence), and from the Spanish American Wars; there were individuals such as the Anglo-German Major Carlos Sowersby, a veteran of the Battle of Borodino against Napoleón Bonaparte in Russia in 1812. A number of British and Irish volunteer officers fought along with Bolívar's forces in Ayacucho, the most notable of them being general William Miller. Nevertheless, the bulk of the foreign troops, who had taken part of most of the campaign, remained at the rear in the reserve during the battle.[28]

The royalists had consumed their resources in a war of movement without achieving a decisive victory against the liberator army. Because of the extremely harsh conditions of a campaign in the Andean range, both armies felt the effects of disease and desertion. The royalist commanders had positioned themselves in the heights of Kunturkunka. This was a good defensive position but one which they couldn't hold for long given that they had food supplies for less than five days, which would mean the dispersion of the army and certain defeat upon the pending arrival of Colombian reinforcements. The army was compelled to make a desperate decision: the Battle of Ayacucho was about to begin.

Battle disposition

There is a debate regarding the numbers of troops fighting on both sides, but it must be recognised that both armies started with similar forces (8500 independents vs. 9310 royalists), but these were diminished during the next weeks until the day of the battle itself, at which point there were perhaps 5780 independentists vs. 6906 royalists.

Batalla de Ayacucho1
Battle of Ayacucho

United Liberation Army

Before the battle's beginning, general Sucre addressed his troops assembled in the field:

Soldiers, South America's destiny depends on today's efforts; another day of glory will crown your admirable perseverance. Soldiers, Long live the Liberator! Long live Bolívar, the Savior of Peru!

— Antonio José de Sucre

Our line formed an angle; the right, composed by the battalions of Bogotá, Boltijeros, Pichincha and Caracas, of the first division of Colombia, under command of senior general Córdova. The left, by the battalions 1.° 2.° 3.° and the Peruvian legion, with the hussars of Junin, under senior general La Mar. On the centre, the grenadiers and hussars of Colombia, with general Miller; and in reserve the Rifles, Vencedor and Bargas Battalions, of the first division of Colombia, under command of senior general Lara.

— Parte de la batalla de Ayacucho[29]

Marshal Sucre does not mention in this part the Mounted Grenadiers of Río de la Plata. General Miller in his Memoirs of General Miller: in the service of the republic of Peru offers the full composition of the armies under Sucre:

Córdova Division (on the right): Bogotá, Caracas, Voltigeur Regiment, Pichincha.

Miller Cavalry (in the centre): Junin Hussars, Colombia Grenadiers, Colombian Hussars, Buenos Ayres Grenadiers cavalry regiments.
La Mar Division (on the left): Peruvian Legion, N° 1, 2, N° 3 infantry battalions.
Lara Division (in reserve): Vargas, Vencedores, Rifle Regiment.[30]

Miller's assertion that the Junín Hussars were in his division[31] contradicts what Sucre says in the part.

Royalist Army of Perú

Flag cross burgundy lessercoat
Royal Army
  • Commander: Viceroy José de la Serna
  • Chief of the High Command - Lieutenant General José de Canterac
  • Cavalry Commander - Brigadier Valentín Ferraz
  • Vanguard Division - General Jerónimo Valdés (2.006 men)
  • First Division - General Juan Antonio Monet (2.000 men)
  • Second Division - General Alejandro González Villalobos (1.700 men)
  • Reserve Division - General José Carratalá (1.200 men)

The Spanish quickly moved their troops down, getting to the gaps to our left the battalions Cantabria, Centro, Castro, 1° Imperial and two Hussar squadrons with a six pieces battery, strengthing too much the attack on that zone. On the center, formed the battalions Burgos, Infante, Victoria, Guias and 2° of the first Regiment, supporting the left of these ones with the three squadrons of the Union, San Carlos, the four of the Guards Grenadiers and the five pieces of artillery already situated; and over the heights to our left the battalions 1 and 2 of Gerona, 2° Imperial, 1° of the first Regiment, Fernandinos, and the squadron of Viceroy's Alaberderos Grenadiers.[29]


Plan of the Battle of Ayacucho.[32]
  1. Royalists positions in the night from 8 to 9
  2. Preparatory maneuver for the royalist attack
  3. March of battalions under colonel Rubín de Celis
  4. Maneuver and attack of Monet division
  5. Attack of Valdés’ vanguard over the house occupied by the independentists
  6. Charge of royalist cavalry
  7. and dispersion of Gerona battalions by the royalist reserve
  8. Battalion Ferdinand VII, last royalist reserve

The plan, devised by Canterac, envisaged that the Vanguard division would flank the enemy force, crossing river Pampas in order to secure the units to the left of Sucre. Meanwhile, the rest of the royalist army would descend frontally from Condorcunca hill, abandoning its defensive position on the high ground and charging against the main body of the enemy, which they expected to be disorganized. The battalions 'Gerona' and 'Ferdinand VII' would serve as reserves, disposed in a second line to be sent in wherever they were required.

Sucre immediately realized the risky nature of the royalists' maneuver, which became clear as the royalists found themselves moving onto an exposed slope, unable to protect their movements. José María Córdova's Division, supported by Miller's Cavalry, strafed the disorganized bulk of royalist troops that were incapable of forming into battle-lines and descended in waves from the mountains. As the attack started Independentist general Córdova uttered his famous words "Division, armas a discreción, de frente, paso de vencedores" (Division, arms at ease; at the pace of victors, forward!). Colonel Joaquín Rubín de Celis, who commanded the first royalist regiment, had to protect the artillery, which was pulled by its mules. He moved forward carelessly into the plain, where his unit was exposed and badly mauled. He himself was killed during the attack of Córdova's division, whose effective fire on the royalist formations pushed back the scattered fighters of Villalobos’ Second Division.

Seeing the misfortune suffered by his left flank, royalist general Monet, without waiting for his cavalry to form in the plain, crossed the ravine and led his First division against Córdova, managing to form two of his battalions into battle order but, suddenly attacked by the independents' division, he was surrounded before the rest of his troops could also form into battle order; during these events Monet was wounded and three of his commanders killed; the scattered divisions of the royalists dragged with them the masses of militia. The royalist cavalry under Valentín Ferraz y Barrau charged upon the enemy squadrons that pursued Monet's broken left but the confusion and the crossfire from the infantry, caused heavy casualties to Ferraz's horsemen, whose survivors were forced to hastily leave the battlefield.

At the other end of the line, the Independentist Second Division of José de La Mar plus the Third Division of Jacinto Lara stopped together the assault made by the veterans of Valdés’ vanguard who had launched themselves to take an isolated building occupied by some independentist companies. Although defeated at first, the independentists were soon reinforced and went back to the attack, eventually helped by the victorious Córdova's division.

Seeing the confusion in the royalist lines, Viceroy La Serna and the other commanders tried to regain control of the battle and reorganize the scattered and fleeing men. General Canterac himself led the reserve division over the plain; however, the 'Gerona' battalions were not the same veterans who fought in the battles of Torata and Moquegua. During Olañeta's rebellion these divisions had lost almost all their veterans and even their former commander Cayetano Ameller; this troop, composed of raw recruits, quickly scattered before meeting the enemy. The 'Ferdinand VII' battalion followed, after a feeble resistance. By one o'clock the viceroy had been wounded and made prisoner along with a great number of his officers. Even though Valdés’ division was still fighting to the right of his front, the battle was a victory for independentists. Independentist casualties according to Sucre were 370 killed and 609 wounded, the royalists lost about 1800 dead and 700 wounded.

With the remnants of his division, Valdés managed to retreat to the hill held by his rearguard, where he joined 200 cavalrymen that had gathered around general Canterac and some dispersed soldiers from royalist divisions (whose fleeing demoralized men even shot and killed their own officers trying to regroup them). The now heavily reduced force had no hope of defeating the independentist army. With the main body of the royal army destroyed and the viceroy himself in the hands of his enemies, the royalist leaders surrendered.

Capitulation of Ayacucho

Junin Patch 2sm
Award patch given to officers who took part of the Peruvian Campaign in 1823-24.
Capitulación de Ayacucho1
Surrender at Ayacucho (Daniel Hernández).

With Viceroy de la Serna seriously injured, agreement between the two sides was negotiated by royalist commander Canterac and general Sucre. Canterac wrote:

"Don José Canterac, Lieutenant general of the Royal Armies of HM the King, responsible commander of the Superior command of Peru due to the imprisonment and injurement in today's battle of the great lord Viceroy don José de La Serna, having listened to the gathered senior generals and chiefs of the Spanish army, filling in every sense all that has been demanded their reputation in the bloody day of Ayacucho and in the whole war in Peru, have had to give up the battlefield to the independent troops; and having to conciliate at the same time the surviving forces’ honour, and for the decrease of this country's misforunes, I believed it convenient to discuss and negotiate with senior division general of the Republic of Colombia, Antonio José de Sucre, chief commander of the Peruvian United Army of Liberation".

The principal terms of the agreement were:

  • The royalist army under command of viceroy La Serna agreed to end hostilities.
  • Remaining royalist soldiers were to remain in the Callao fortresses.
  • The Peru Republic should pay the debt to the countries that gave military contributions to the independence movement.

In Lima, Bolívar summoned the Panama Congress, on 7 December, for the union of the new independent countries. The project was only ratified by Gran Colombia. Four years later, due to personal ambitions of many of its generals and the absence of a united vision that foresaw South America as a single nation, Gran Colombia would end up splitting into the countries that exist today in South America, frustrating Bolívar's aspiration to realise his dream of union.

Conspiracy theories about the Battle of Ayacucho

Spanish historian Juan Carlos Losada calls the surrender of the royalists the "Ayacucho betrayal" in his book Batallas Decisivas de la Historia de España (Decisive Battles in the History of Spain) (Ed. Aguilar, 2004). He states that the result of the battle had already been agreed between opposing commanders, arguing that Juan Antonio Monet was responsible for the agreement: "the main characters kept a deep pact of silence and, therefore, we can only speculate, although with little risk of being wrong" (Page 254). He argues that a capitulation without battle would have been undoubtedly judged as treason, but defeat allowed the losing commanders to retain their honour.

The theory assumes that liberal-minded commanders in the royalist army preferred an independentist victory to the triumph of absolutist authoritarian Spain. In the conspiracy-minded atmosphere of the time, several commanders were accused of belonging to the Freemasons, as were independentist leaders, and certainly did not sympathise with king Ferdinand VII's ideas, considering him a tyrannical absolutist monarch. Spanish commander Andrés García Camba says in his memoirs that returning Spanish officers, latter known as "ayacuchos", were unjustly accused of betrayal upon their arrival to Spain, being told by one general, in an accusatory manner, "sirs, in this case we suffered a Masonic defeat"; the veterans replied - "it was lost, my general, in the way battles are lost".


Palacio de Congresos Bolivia
Palacio de Congresos, Bolivia.

After the victory at Ayacucho, following strict orders from Bolívar, general Sucre entered Upper Peru (today's Bolivia) territory on 25 February 1825. Besides having orders of installing an immediately independent administration, his role was limited to giving an appearance of legality to the process that Upper Peruvians themselves had started already. Royalist general Pedro Antonio Olañeta stayed in Potosí, where he received by January the "Union" Infantry Battalion coming from Puno under the command of colonel José María Valdez. Olañeta then summoned a War Council, which agreed to continue the resistance in the name of Ferdinand VII. Next, Olañeta distributed his troops between Cotagaita fortress with the "Chichas" Battalion. in charge of colonel Medinacelli, while Valdez was sent to Chuquisaca with the "Union" Infantry Battalion and loyalist militias, and Olañeta himself marched toward Vitichi, with 60,000 pieces of gold from the Coin House in Potosí. But for the Spanish military personnel in Upper Peru, it was too little too late, as since 1821 all out guerilla warfare had raged in this part of the continent.

However, in Cochabamba the First Battalion of the Infantry Regiment "Ferdinand VII", led by colonel José Martínez, rebelled and side with the independence movement, only to be followed later by the Second Battalion "Ferdinand VII" Infantry Regiment in Vallegrande, resulting in the forced resignation of Brigadier Francisco Aguilera on 12 February. Royalist colonel José Manuel Mercado occupied Santa Cruz de la Sierra on 14 February, as Chayanta stayed in the hands of lieutenant colonel Pedro Arraya, with the cavalry squadrons "Santa Victoria" (Holy Victory) and "Dragones Americanos" (American Dragoons), and in Chuquisaca the cavalry squadron "Dragones de la Frontera"(Frontier Dragoons) under colonel Francisco López claimed victory for the independence forces on 22 February. At this point, the majority of royalist troops of Upper Peru refused to continue fighting against the powerful army of Sucre. Colonel Medinacelli with 300 soldiers also revolted against Olañeta, and on 2 April 1825 they faced each other in the Battle of Tumusla, which ended with the death of Olañeta. A few days later, on 7 April, general José María Valdez surrendered in Chequelte to general Urdininea, putting an end to the war in Upper Peru and signalling victory to the local independence movement which had been active since 1811.

Bolivian Declaration of Independence

Independence treaty of Bolivia
Bolivian Independence Act at Casa de la Libertad, Sucre.

After the Constituent Assembly in Chuquisaca was reconvened by Marshal Sucre, on 8 July 1825, and then later concluded, it was determined the complete independence of Upper Peru under the republican form. Finally, the Assembly president José Mariano Serrano, together with a commission, wrote down the "Independence Act of the Upper Peruvian Departments" which carries the date of 6 August 1825, in honor of the Battle of Junín won by Bolivar. Independence was declared by 7 representatives from Charcas, 14 from Potosí, 12 from La Paz, 13 from Cochabamba and 2 from Santa Cruz. The Declaration of Independence, written by the president of the Congress, Serrano, states in its expositive part:

The world knows that the land of Upper Peru has been, in the American continent, the altar where the free people shed the first blood, and the land where the last of the tyrants’ tombs finally lays. Today, the Upper Peruvian departments protest in the face of the whole Earth its irrevocable resolution to be governed by themselves.

The origin of the name of Bolivia

Through a decree it was determined that the new state in Upper Peru would carry the name of República Bolívar, in honor of the liberator, who was designated as "Father of the Republic and Supreme Chief of State". Bolívar thanked them for these honors, but declined the presidency of the Republic, a duty he gave instead to the victor of Ayacucho, Grand Marshal Antonio José de Sucre, who would later be sworn in the same day as the first President of Bolivia. After some time, the subject of the name of the young nation arose again, and a Potosian deputy named Manuel Martín Cruz offered a solution, suggesting that in the same manner which from Romulus comes Rome, from Bolívar ought to come the new nation of Bolivia.

"If from Romulus, Rome; from Bolívar, it is Bolivia".

By the time Bolívar got the news, he felt flattered by the young nation, but until then he hadn't accepted willingly Upper Peru's because he was worried about its future, due to Bolivia's location in the very center of South America; this, according to Bolivar, would create a nation that would face many future wars, which curiously did happen. Bolivar wished that Bolivia would become part of another nation, preferably Peru (given the fact that it had been part of Viceroyalty del Perú for centuries), or Argentina (since during the last decades of colonial domain it had been part of Viceroyalty del Río de la Plata), but what deeply convinced him otherwise was the attitude of the people. On 18 August, upon his arrival to La Paz, there was a manifestation of popular rejoicing. The same scene repeated when the Liberator arrived to Oruro, then to Potosí and finally to Chuquisaca. Such a fervent demonstration by the people touched Bolívar, who called the new nation his "Predilect Daughter", and was called by the peoples of the new republic their "Favorite Son".

Bolívar's acknowledgement of Sucre

Los Próceres, Caracas, Venezuela
National Heroes Memorial at Heroes' Avenue, (Caracas, Venezuela.

In 1825, Bolívar had published Su resumen sucinto de la vida del general Sucre, the only work of its kind by Bolívar. In it, he spared no praise of the crowning achievement of his faithful lieutenant:

The Battle of Ayacucho is the summit of American glory, and the work of General Sucre. The planning of it was perfect, and the execution divine. Coming generations will commemorate the victory of Ayacucho to bless it and contemplate it sitting on the throne of freedom, commanding to Americans the exercise of their rights and the sacred laws of nature.

"You are called upon the greatest destinies, and I foresee that you are the rival of my Glory" (Bolivar, Letter to Sucre, Nazca, 26 April 1825).

Then the Congress of Colombia made Sucre Chief General of the Colombian Army and its Commanding General, and the Congress of Peru gave him the Degree and Military Rank of Great Marshal of Ayacucho due to his actions.

See also


  1. ^ Complete name in Spanish: "Ejército Unido peruano colombiano Libertador del Perú" [1] [2] [3]
  2. ^ 5780 men on the battle. Historia extensa de Colombia. Luis Martínez-Delgado, Academia Colombiana de Historia.[4]. The Sucre's army start the campaign of Ayacucho with 13.000 independentist soldiers claim Viceroy la Serna:Ocho años de la Serna en el Perú (De la "Venganza" a la "Ernestine".Alberto Wagner de Reyna.[5]
  3. ^ 8.500 men at start campaign over the Apurimac river
  4. ^ Freedom territories mainly antique northern provinces of Perú, see map File:LocationNorthPeru.png
  5. ^ Ceasefire between Argentines with Spaniards in the Preliminary Peace Convention of 1823
  6. ^ Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata: un escuadrón del Regimiento de Granaderos a Caballo de Buenos Aires (mencionado también como Granaderos montados de los Andes), fue mandado reorganizar por Bolívar con los jinetes que amotinados en Lurín apresando a sus jefes, no se unieron a los sublevados del Callao. (Memorias del general O'Leary, pág. 139. S.B. O'Leary, 1883.) (in Spanish)
  7. ^ República de Chile: no hubo unidades chilenas en Ayacucho, pero sí jefes y soldados, la mayoría de los 300 reclutas que llegaron de Chile al puerto de Santa en diciembre de 1823 al mando del coronel Pedro Santiago Aldunate para completar las formaciones chilenas y fueron incorporados a la caballería colombiana y al Batallón Vargas por intercambio por reclutas peruanos, se dispersaron en la batalla de Corpahuaico, reuniéndose con el Ejército de Sucre luego de la batalla de Ayacucho. Los que sí estuvieron en la batalla, lo hicieron formando parte de los batallones colombianos y peruanos. (Los Peruanos y su Independencia, pág. 95. José Augusto De Izcue. BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2008. ISBN 0-559-43532-0, ISBN 978-0-559-43532-4) (in Spanish)
  8. ^ "At Ayacucho, the remains of the regiment were part of the Patriot order of battle but remained in the reserve and did not take part on the fighting." Arthur Sandes
  9. ^ Hughes pg. 349
  10. ^ in spanish:Ejército Real del Perú
  11. ^ 9310 men at start campaign over Apurímac river. El Perú Republicano y los fundamentos de su emancipación. Jorge Basadre.[6]
  12. ^ Los incas borbónicos: la elite indígena cuzqueña en vísperas de Tupac Amaru [7]"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Occupied territories mainly antique southern provinces of Perú, see map File:LocationSouthPeru.png
  14. ^ El congreso constituyente del Perú, decreto declarando reo de alta traición a José de la Riva Aguero, 8 de agosto de 1823 Archived 23 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Manifiesto del Presidente del Perú, Gran Mariscal José Bernardo Tagle, 6 de mayo de 1824
  16. ^ García Camba, Andrés. Memorias para la historia de las armas españolas en el Perú 1809-1825. (Volume II. Madrid, Benito Hortelano, 1846), 98.
  17. ^ [Biblioteca Ayacucho. Rufino Blanco-Fombona]
  18. ^ [8]
  19. ^ La guerra de la independencia en el alto Perú. Pág. 161. Escrito por Emilio A. Bidondo. Publicado por Círculo Militar, 1979
  20. ^ [9]
  21. ^ Memorias del general O'Leary. Páge 235. Escrito por Daniel Florencio O'Leary. 1883.
  22. ^ resaltado como un subtítulo en el Libro Junin y Ayacucho. General O'Leary
  23. ^ [10]
  24. ^ [11]
  25. ^ Ocho años de la Serna en el Perú (De la "Venganza" a la "Ernestine")
  26. ^ Jaime E. Rodríguez O. The Independence of Spanish America (1998), 231. ISBN 0521626730
  27. ^ Bolívar
  28. ^ "At Ayacucho, the remains of the [Arthur Sandes] regiment were part of the Patriot order of battle but remained in the reserve and did not take part on the fighting." Arthur Sandes
  29. ^ a b [Parte de la batalla de Ayacucho, Antonio José de Sucre]
  30. ^ Memoirs of General Miller: in the service of the republic of Peru. Escrito por John Miller. Publicado por Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1829. Pág. 194–195
  31. ^ Los Peruanos y su Independencia. pp. 88. Author: Jose Augusto de Izcue. Editor: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2008. ISBN 0-559-43533-9, ISBN 978-0-559-43533-1
  32. ^ Mariano Torrente "Historia de la revolución hispano-americana", Volumen 3, pág. 490


  • Hughes, Ben. Conquer or Die!: British Volunteers in Bolivar's War of Extermination 1817-21. Osprey Publishing 2010 ISBN 1849081832
  • El Perú Republicano y los fundamentos de su emancipación.Jorge Basadre.
  • Historia extensa de Colombia. Luis Martínez Delgado, Academia Colombiana de Historia.

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 13°2′33″S 74°7′54″W / 13.04250°S 74.13167°W

1st Venezuelan Rifles

The 1st Venezuelan Rifles (Spanish: Regimiento de Rifles de Venezuela) was a nominally Irish regiment that took part in the Venezuelan War of Independence. Commanded by Colonel Donald Campbell, a Scottish Protestant. Battalion Rifles was created on August 13, 1818 with the British Riflemen under the command of Colonel Robert Piggot, survivors of the Battle of La Puerta (1818), formerly called the Line Battalion or Fusiliers of the Honor Guard. Its nucleus was recruited by the British and its ranks were completed with Creole peoples and natives of the Caribbean. Later, the unit participated in actions that included expeditions through the Llanos and the Andes and the Boyacá Campaign, 1819. He fought until 1824, in the Battle of Ayacucho, saving with his sacrifice the army of Sucre, trapped in the Corpahuaico Gorge, a few days before.

Agustín Gamarra

Agustín Gamarra Messia (August 27, 1785 – November 18, 1841) was a Peruvian soldier and politician, who served as the 10th and 14th President of Peru.

Gamarra was a Mestizo, being of mixed Spanish and Quechua descent. He had a military life since childhood, battling against the royalist forces. He then joined the cause of Independence as second in command after Andrés de Santa Cruz. He also participated in the Battle of Ayacucho, and was later named Chief of State. In 1825, he married Francisca ('Pancha') Zubiaga y Bernales, who Simon Bolivar crowned when she was about to put the crown on him. After the invasion of Bolivia in 1828, he was named a mariscal (marshal), a highly esteemed military officer.

After the defeat of José de la Mar in Gran Colombia, Gamarra urged his overthrow and assumed the presidency for a brief period after Antonio Gutiérrez de la Fuente. The peace treaty with Gran Colombia was also signed during Gamarra's government.

Biblioteca Ayacucho

The Biblioteca Ayacucho (Ayacucho Library) is an editorial entity of the government of Venezuela, founded on September 10, 1974. It is managed by the Fundación Biblioteca Ayacucho. Its name, Ayacucho, comes from the intention to honor the definitive and crucial Battle of Ayacucho that took place December 9, 1824 between Spain and the territories of the Americas, prior to the full independence of the continent.

From the beginning the Biblioteca had its sights set on the classic works of all of Latin America and of all the branches of literary culture. It started with a Classical collection, with its first publication being Doctrina del Libertador Simón Bolívar, by Venezuelan independence hero Simón Bolívar, in June 1976. Over time, the Biblioteca has developed several collections, as well as one of the most important Literary Dictionaries of Latin America, the Diccionario Enciclopédico de las Letras de América Latina.

Notable personalities of the intellectual and academic world of Latin America have participated in the formation and development of Biblioteca Ayacucho, such as Ángel Rama and José Ramón Medina. Its director, as of today, is the Venezuelan writer Humberto Mata.

In March 2009 Biblioteca Ayacucho won three categories of the fifth Premio Nacional del Libro, including the category of digital publications, for the Biblioteca Ayacucho Digital. The Biblioteca Ayacucho Digital provides free online access to around 250 Venezuelan and Latin American books, ranging from recent publications to classics by authors such as Simón Bolívar.


Catacora is a location in the La Paz Department in Bolivia. It is the location of the Catacora Municipality, the second municipal section of the José Manuel Pando Province.

Catacora can also refer to the noble cacique family of the same last name. Their seat was in the city of Acora in the Province of Puno. The Catacora were one of the few Caciques in Peru to retain their prestige and land after the revolution of Túpac Amaru II. This was both due to their role in containing previous rebellions against the Viceroyalty of Peru, which earned them recognition from the Spanish Crown and for their active role to fight the revolution. During the war of independence the Catacora remained loyal to Spain and held Acora and most of Puno in force. They played a mayor role in the reconquest of Arequipa by the Spanish Empire. They send nearly 2000 men to fight in Jose de Canterac's royalist army. It was only after the Spanish defeat in the Battle of Ayacucho, where all royalists troops were ordered to stand down by Viceroy La Cerna, that the Catacora capitulated. After the war of independence they moved their seat to the small town of Caminaca until the Hacienda system was finally disbanded with the agricultural revolution.

Department of Ayacucho

Ayacucho (Spanish pronunciation: [aʝaˈkutʃo] (listen)) is a department of Peru, located in the south-central Andes of the country. Its capital is the city of Ayacucho. The region was one of the hardest hit by terrorism in the 1980s during the guerrilla war waged by Shining Path known as the internal conflict in Peru.

A referendum was held on 30 October 2005, in order to decide whether the department would merge with the departments of Ica and Huancavelica to form the new Ica-Ayacucho-Huancavelica Region, as part of the decentralization process in Peru. The bill failed and Ayacucho remained an independent department.

El Degüello

The Degüello (Spanish: El toque a degüello) is a bugle call, notable in the US for its use as a march by Mexican Army buglers during the 1836 Siege and Battle of the Alamo to signal that the defenders of the garrison would receive no quarter by the attacking Mexican Army under General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Degüello was introduced to the Americas by the Spanish armies and was later adopted by the patriot armies fighting against them during the Spanish American wars of independence. It was also widely used by Simon Bolivar's armies, notably during the Battle of Junin and the Battle of Ayacucho."Degüello" is a Spanish noun from the verb "degollar", to describe the action of throat-cutting. More figuratively, it means "give no quarter." It "signifies the act of beheading or throat-cutting and in Spanish history became associated with the battle music, which, in different versions, meant complete destruction of the enemy without mercy." It is similar to the war cry "¡A degüello!" used by Cuban rebels in the 19th century to launch mounted charges against the Spanish infantry.

Estadio Ciudad de Cumaná

Estadio Ciudad de Cumaná is a multi-purpose stadium in Ayacucho, Huamanga, Peru. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of Ayacucho FC of the Peruvian Primera División and Deportivo Municipal de Huamanga of the Copa Perú league. The stadium holds 12,000 spectators. It was built to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Ayacucho by the government of Venezuela under the leadership of Carlos Andrés Pérez. It is named after the city of Cumaná which is the birthplace of Antonio José de Sucre who was the commander of the United Liberation Army during the Battle of Ayacucho. It is part of the larger Complejo Deportivo Venezuela or Venezuela Sports Complex which includes other sporting facilities built by the Venezuelan government.

Gran Hotel Bolivar

The Gran Hotel Bolívar, is a historic hotel located on Plaza San Martín in Lima, Peru. Designed by noted Peruvian architect Rafael Marquina, it was built in 1924 and was the first large, modern hotel built in Lima.

Part of a program to modernize Lima, the hotel was constructed on what was state property. The hotel was inaugurated on December 6, 1924, in honor of the centenary of the Battle of Ayacucho, a decisive military encounter during the Peruvian War of Independence. The square itself was inaugurated on July 27, 1921, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Peru's independence.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the hotel attracted Hollywood movie stars such as Orson Welles, Ava Gardner, and John Wayne, where many also discovered the local cocktail, the Pisco Sour.

Jacinto Lara

Jacinto Lara (Carora, 5 June 1777 - Barquisimeto, 25 February 1859), was a Venezuelan independence leader and hero of the Venezuelan War of Independence. His contribution included participating in Simón Bolívar's 1813 Admirable Campaign. He was briefly Prefect of the Intendency of the Magdalena River and the Isthmus in 1821. He later led a reserve division at the Battle of Ayacucho (1824), a decisive military encounter during the Peruvian War of Independence.

Jerónimo Valdés

Jerónimo Valdés (1784–1855) was a Spanish military figure and administrator. Born in Villarín, in Asturias, he participated in the battle of Ayacucho (1824), which was a defeat for the Spanish. He served as Viceroy of Navarre from 1833 to 1834 and also served as Minister of War. He fought on the Liberal (Isabeline) side in the First Carlist War. Valdés lost the Battle of Artaza (April 22, 1835).

Valdés signed the Lord Eliot Convention soon after, regulating the treatment of prisoners during that war.

He later served as captain-general of Valencia, and of Galicia, and served as governor of Cuba from 1841 to September 1843.

José de Canterac

José de Canterac (July 29, 1786, Casteljaloux, Lot-et-Garone, France – April 13, 1835, Madrid, Spain) was a Spanish general of French origin who fought in the Spanish American wars of independence. In 1816 he joined the army of Pablo Morillo fighting in the expedition against Isla Margarita. As Field Marshal, he took command of the Spanish Army in South America in 1822 and gained victories at the battles of Ica (1822) and Moquegua (1823). His defeats in 1824 at the Battle of Junín and the Battle of Ayacucho led to his capitulation to the Patriot forces. Upon his return to Spain, Canterac was made Captain General of Madrid. He was killed in 1835 in an insurrection at the Puerta del Sol.

Juan Pascual Pringles

Juan Pascual Pringles (May 17, 1795 – March 10, 1831) was a distinguished military leader in the Spanish American wars of independence, with the rank of colonel, and later a leader of the Argentine Unitarian Party.

Pringles was born in San Luis, Argentina on May 17, 1795. From 1811 until 1814 he worked in Mendoza before joining a militia in 1815. In 1820 he joined the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers and departed for Peru as part of an expeditionary force of liberators and on arrival fought in many major battles, including the Battle of Junín and the Battle of Ayacucho. In 1829 he returned to Buenos Aires, and was soon drawn into the civil wars between the Unitarian Party and the Federalists.

He died in battle at Chañaral de las Ánimas against Facundo Quiroga's forces on March 10, 1831. Rather than surrender his sword to Quiroga's subordinate and not to the general in person, he broke it in half before being shot and killed. Quiroga later reprimanded the soldier who took Pringles' life without consulting him.


Kunturkunka (Quechua kuntur condor, kunka throat, gullet, neck, voice, Hispanicized spelling Condorcunca) is a mountain in the Andes of Peru. It is located in the Ayacucho Region, Huamanga Province, Quinua District. Kunturkunka lies southwest of the mountain Saraqucha Q'asa ("maize lake mountain pass"), Hispanicized Saracochajasa) at the plain named Pampa de Quinua or Pampa de Ayacucho. This is where the Battle of Ayacucho took place. Today it is a protected area known as Pampa de Ayacucho Historical Sanctuary.

Miguel de San Román

Miguel de San Román Meza (May 17, 1802, Puno, Peru – April 3, 1863, Lima, Peru) served as the 25th President of Peru for a brief period between 1862 and 1863.

In 1822 he served under Simón Bolívar and participated in the Battle of Ayacucho. From there on, San Román participated in various battles during the first years of the Peruvian republican period. He supported Agustín Gamarra until his defeat in the battle of Ingavi.

Despite this defeat, San Román was awarded the grade of Gran Mariscal. He occupied the post of "President of the Council of State" between 1845 and 1849. In 1855 he was named Minister of War under Ramón Castilla, and later served as Prime Minister of Peru from July to October 1858. In 1862 he was elected as the President of Peru.

Miguel de San Román introduced the Peruvian Sol currency in 1863 and adopted the decimal system for standard weight and measures.

He died a couple of months after assuming power in the Lima district Chorrillos.

Pampas de Ayacucho Historic Sanctuary

The Pampas de Ayacucho Historic Sanctuary is located near the town of Quinua in the region of Ayacucho. It has an area of 3 km² and was established in 1980 to protect the site of the Battle of Ayacucho.

Peruvian War of Independence

The Peruvian War of Independence was composed of a series of military conflicts in Peru beginning with viceroy Abascal military reconquest in 1811 in the battle of Guaqui, continuing with the definitive defeat of the Spanish Army in 1824 in the battle of Ayacucho, and culminating in 1826 with the Siege of Callao. The wars of independence took place with the background of the 1780–1781 uprising by indigenous leader Túpac Amaru II and the earlier removal of Upper Peru and the Río de la Plata regions from the Viceroyalty of Peru. Because of this the viceroy often had the support of the "Lima oligarchy," who saw their elite interests threatened by popular rebellion and were opposed to the new commercial class in Buenos Aires. During the first decade 1800s Peru had been a stronghold for royalists, who fought those in favor of independence in Peru, Bolivia, Quito and Chile. Among the most important events during the war was the proclamation of independence of Peru by José de San Martín on 28 July 1821.

Postage stamps and postal history of Peru

Peru declared independence from Spain in 1821 and decisively defeated colonial forces at the Battle of Ayacucho in 1824.Peru began using lithographed stamps in 1857 that initially were provided by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company. Most copies of Peru's PSNC stamps in circulation are forgeries.

Around 1860 Peru acquired a French-made device (the so-called "Lecoq" press) that was used to print, emboss and cut imperforate stamps from paper strips. The commemorative stamp illustrated to the right was one of the last Peru produced on this rare machine.

For a catalogue used by collectors to classify early Peruvian (imperforate) stamps by their cancellations, see Lamy (and Rinck).

Quinua, Peru

Quinua is a small town in the province of Huamanga, in Peru's central highland department of Ayacucho, 37 km (23 mi) from the city of Huamanga (Ayacucho), at an altitude of 3,300 meters (10,830 ft), which today serves as the administrative capital of the district of the same name. It is noted as the site of the 1824 Battle of Ayacucho.

Long known for its pottery, and serving as a stop between the larger towns of Huamanga and Huanta and the jungles of San Miguel province, Quinua received a boost to its primarily agricultural subsistence with the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Ayacucho in 1974. In preparation for the ceremonies dedicating a 44-meter (144 ft) obelisk commemorating the 44-year struggle for independence, a paved roadway was built linking Quinua and Huamanga, thereby shortening to less than an hour what had until then been a half-day trip.

After the long-lasting fight between the Peruvian state and the Shining Path guerrilla movement, the town capitalized on its historic location, garnering a share of Ayacucho's tourism market. Among the attractions offered the more than 10,000 who visit each year are the battlefield and the commemorative obelisk, a historical museum located in the house where the Act of Capitulation was signed, the town traditional architecture, and traditional Ayacucho foods prepared and served in country setting. Pottery is now the town's main industry, with 70% of its economically active population engaged in producing or selling the town's famous pottery.

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