Title: Military reform in the viceroyalty of New Granada, 1773-1796
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098882/00001
 Material Information
Title: Military reform in the viceroyalty of New Granada, 1773-1796
Physical Description: vi, 257 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kuethe, Allan J., 1940-
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1967
Copyright Date: 1967
Subject: New Granada (Viceroyalty) Ejército   ( lcsh )
History -- Colombia -- To 1810   ( lcsh )
History -- Venezuela -- To 1810   ( lcsh )
History -- Ecuador -- To 1809   ( lcsh )
History thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- History -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 253-257.
General Note: Manuscript copy.
General Note: Thesis - University of Florida.
General Note: Vita.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00098882
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000543343
oclc - 13140581
notis - ACW7051


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August, 1967

SCopyright by
Allan James Kuethe




I wish to express my appreciation to Dr. Lyle N. McAlister

under whose supervision this dissertation was conducted. Dr.

McAlister gave generously of both his time and personal resources.

He served as an inspiration and assisted me in more ways than can

be enumerated. A special note of thanks is also due Dr. David

Bushnell, who not only rendered invaluable assistance in conducting

this project, but also imparted to me his enthusiasm for the

nations of the northern Andes.

I am also indebted to Drs. Carlos Restrepo Canal, director

of the Archivo Nactional de Colombia; Galo Martfnez, director of

the Archive Nacional de Ecuador; and Jos4 Marta Arboleda Lloren-

te, director of the Archivo Central del Cauca. In conjunction with

their able assistants, all three extended to me the warmest hospitality

and the fullest cooperation. I also wish to acknowledge the assistance

of Dr. Guillermo HernAndez d, Alba of the Colombian Academy of History

who most generously shared his personal library.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...... ..... .......... .

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . . .

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................. .

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . .


ORGANIZATION ....... . . ..... .







CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . .

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . .. . .


Table Page

1. THE ARMY OF NEW GRANADA IN 1772 . . . . 14

2. ARMY OF NEW GRANADA 1779 . . . . . . 45




6. ARMY OF NEW GRANADA 1789 . . . . . 127




10. ARMY OF NEW GRANADA 1794 . . . . . . 224


12. ARMY OF NEW GRANADA IN 1799 . . . . . . 241

13. ARMY OF NEW GRANADA 1806 . . . . . 245


In citing manuscript materials the following abbreviations

have been employed for archives and their fondos:

Archivo Nacional de Colombia . . . . ANC

a) Milicia Y Marina . . . . .. MM

Archivo Nacional de Ecuador . . . .. ANE

a) Presidencia . . . . . Pres.

Archivo Central del Cauca ........ ACC

a) ilitaes ............... MI

Other fondos were employed, but not with sufficient frequency to

justify special abbreviation.


At the close of the Seven Years War the Spanish monarchy ini-

tiated a far-reaching colonial reorganization in its American empire.

Until that conflict, the new Bourbon dynasty had been chiefly concerned

with revitalizing the old Hapsburg system, but the serious reverses suf-

fered at the hands of the British nation and the anticipation of further

hostilities prompted the crown to undertake comprehensive reforms for

strengthening its domains. This reorganization consisted of programs

designed to stimulate economic growth, to increase public revenues,

and to develop an effective system of administration. More specifically,

the Jesuits were expelled in 1767; trade restrictions were relaxed

culminating In an edict of "free trade" in 1778 (except for Caracas and

New Spain which waited until 1789); special technical missions and

guilds were organized to modernize mining methods; new government monop-

olies were created and others expanded; and the intendent system of

administration was introduced. Another aspect of the colonial reor-

ganization was an empire-wide military revival intended to enhance

colonial defense capability and self-reliance. The course of that

reform in the Viceroyalty of New Granada is the subject of the present

study. The administrative division "New Granada" will be taken in the

Arthur S. Alton, "Spanish Colonial Reorganization under the
Family Compact," The Hispanic American Historical Review, XII (August,
1932), 269-280.

following text to exclude the Captaincy General of Caracas because

that was a separate military jurisdiction.

The position of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the Bourbon

Reforms has to date remained obscure. Not only has there been a

relative neglect of this region by historians from the United States,

but the Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Panamanians themselves have

hardly recognized the presence of this movement within their nations'

histories. Rather, this period is almost exclusively treated as an

era of precursors and preparations signaling the dawn of the Wars for

Independence. This phenomenon cannot be attributed solely to a

fascination with the independence movement. A more satisfactory

explanation is likely to be found in the nature of the reforms them-

selves, for indications are that in many respects the Bourbon re-

organization made only a moderate although far from negligible long-

run Impact in New Granada. The primary example is that the intendent

system of administration was not installed except for a short-lived

experiment In the province of Cuenca. Nor did endeavors to modernize

silver mining methods in the viceroyalty bear appreciable results.

Less clear-cut were the consequences of the relaxation of trade

restrictions. On the negative side, both the Quito textile industry

and the Panamanian crossroads suffered serious recessions dating

from the opening of the more expedient Cape Horn route to licensed

vessels.2 On the positive side, a minor diversification of exports

2pedro tessia de la Cerda, "Relaci6n del estado del virreinato
de Santa Fe . 1772," Relaciones de mando: memorTas presentadas nor
ios nobernantes del Nuevo Reino de Granada, eds. F. Posada and P. M.
IbAfez (Bogot$, 1910), p. 108; Francisco Antonio Moreno y Escand6n,

did evolve by the end of the colonial period through the marketing of

small quantities of cotton, quina (medicinal bark), indigo, and dye-

wood; and a substantial expansion developed in cacao, chiefly from

Guayaquil, but also to a lesser extent from the Cucuta district.

Nevertheless, the preponderant item continued to be gold as it had

always been.3 Consequently, while substantial repercussions of varied

sorts were evident in the Presidency of Quito and in Panama, the effect

of "free trade" upon the main portion of New Granada was modest at the

most. However, in some instances the colonial reorganization did

produce unquestionable changes. Tobacco and anuardiente monopolies

became major sources of royal income, and along with an overall rise

in the aduana they were in a large measure responsible for a noteworthy

growth of public revenues from roughly 950,000 pesos in 1772 (terri-

tories later transferred to Caracas not Included) to just over

3,000,000 at the close of the colonial period, or nearly forty years


"Estado del virreinato de Santafe, Nuevo Reino de Granada . 1772,"
Boletrn de historic y antiquedades, XXIII (September-October, 1936),
588; Manuel de Guirior, "Relacidn del estado del Nuevo Reino de Granada
. 1776," Relaciones de mando . ., pp. 148-149; Francisco Sil-
vestre, Descripci6n del revno de Santa Fe de Boqota6 escrita en 1789
(Bogota, 1950), pp. 44-45.

31essra de la Cerda, Relaciones de mando . ., pp. 105-106;
Pedro Mendinueta, "Relacidn del estado del Nuevo Reino de Granada
. 1803," Relaciones de mando . . pp. 507-508; Luis Eduardo
Nieto Areta, Economfa Y cultural en la historic de Colombia (Bogotb,
1962), pp. 22-23; Luis Ospina Vgsquez, Industria Y proteccf6n en
Colombia (1810-1930) (Medellin, 1955), pp. 38-39.

4Moreno y Escand6n, Boletrn de historic v antiquedade XXIII,
603-605; Jos4 Manuel Restrepo, Historia de la revolucidn de la
renpblica de Colombia en la Amurica meridional (BogotA, 1952), 1, xxxi.

Because the number of systematic studies on the several aspects

of the Bourbon Reforms in the history of New Granada is exceedingly

limited, any explanation for their apparently moderate impact must

necessarily be hazy and ought at this point to be regarded as tentative.

Nevertheless, certain general observations can be made. The Granadine

counterparts of the well-known missions of Jose de Gilvez in New Spain

and Josh Antonio de Areche in Peru to organize the foundations for

fiscal and administrative reforms were those of Juan Gutierrez de

Pigeres in New Granada and Jose Garcfa de Le6n y Pizarro in its

Presidency of Quito. However, efforts by Gutidrrez to reform the fiscal

administration of the viceroyalty were met by the catastrophic Comunero

Rebellion of 1781 which for an instant threatened to topple the regime

in Santa Fe. As a consequence, although both the aguardiente and

tobacco monopolies were eventually extended, as sought by Gutierrez,

plans to introduce the intendent system were postponed.5 The uprising

of 1781 did, however, elevate to prominence the archbishop of Santa

Fe, Antonio Caballero y G6ngora, who conducted the pacification of

the realm, became viceroy in 1782, and then distinguished himself as

the viceroyalty's leading reformer.

The seven-year administration of the Archbishop-Viceroy was by

all indicatics the high point of the Bourbon Reforms in New Granada.

He personally solicited the assistance of a technical mission to

modernize silver mining and was granted the services of Juan Josg de

Elhuyar, the older brother of the better known Fausto who later headed

5Antonio Caballero y G6ngora, "Relaci6n del estado del Nuevo
Reino de Granada . 1789," Relaciones de mando . . pp. 256-257-

the mining reform in New Spain. Juan Jose arrived in New Granada In

1784 and the following year opened operations in the province of Mari-

quita. In 1788 he was provided with eight German scientists to assist

him in his labors. Caballero y G6ngora also sought to increase local

production and exports by granting Brazil wood trade concessions to

foreigners and by promoting the marketing of quina in Spain. Despite

entrenched opposition, he expanded the government aguardiente and

tobacco monopolies. And, after restoring domestic tranquility he

formulated a general plan for the establishment of an intendent system.7

The Archbishop-Viceroy's administration was also noted for under-

takings which if not precisely part of the reform movement wera con-

nected to the broader spirit of change. Under his auspices the famous

botanical expedition of JosAe elestino Mutis first received official
sanction. An independently organized economic society for the advance-

ment of applied learning was founded in Mr.mp6s in 1784 and received

viceregal approval the same year, and plans for another were initiated

in Quito. Large-scale, government-sponsored colonization enterprises

were conducted on the coastal frontiers. And, in connection with the

latter ventures, the local coast guard was greatly expanded.10

6Arthur P. Whitaker, "The Elhuyar Mining Missions and the En-
lightenment," The Hispanic American Historical Review, XXXI (November,
1951), 573-585.

7Caballero y G6ngora, Relaciones de mando . pp. 253-254,
257-259, 267-26B.

jb.d., p. 253.

9R. J. Shafer, The Economic Societies In the Spanish World (1763-
1821) (Syracuse, 1958), pp. 168-177, 154-156.

10Caballero y G6ngora, Relaciones de mando . . pp. 272-273.

Under the two immediate successors of Caballero y G6ngora this

commitment to reform declined. Both men were distrustful of the

wisdom of his far-flung schemes and shared a common reluctance to

press forward on such a grand scale. Indeed, the year 1789 when the

Archbishop-Viceroy left office opened a period of decided reaction

against many of the developing programs. The colonization endeavors,

the Brazil wood concessions, the support of quina exports, and the

mining reform were all suspended, and the enlarged coast guard was

reduced.l1 The Elhuyer mining reform was later reactivated, but

his mission, handicapped by the misfortune of having departed Europe

prior to the discovery of the more advanced Born method of amalgamation

and plagued by a poor choice of location, collapsed by 1795.12 Although

the Quito economic society was approved in 1791, it and that of Momp6s

soon disintegrated.13 And, more important, the intendent project

remained a scrap of paper. Thereafter, the surge of reform never

regained Its momentum.

A widely held concept of the Bourbon Reforms in Spanish America

has been that in promoting change they also produced disruptive contingent

IlFrancisco Gil y Lemos, "Gil y Lemos y su remoria sobre el Nuevo
Reino de Granada," ed. with introduction by Enrique Stnchez Pedrote,
Anuario de studios americanos, VIll (1951), 185-187; Jose de Ezpeleta,
"Relaci6n del estado del Nuevo Reino de Granada . 1796," Relaciones
do mando .. pp. 281-282.
12Ezpeleta, Relaciones de mando . . pp. 343-346; Mendinueta,
Relaciones de mando . . pp. 500, 502; Whitaker, Hispanic American
Historical Review. XXXI, 578.
13Shafer, pp. 155, 176-177. In the early 1800's a society was
planned for Santa Fe, but it never became operative. Ibid., pp. 235-

results more important than those originally intended. The introduc-

tion of a more vigorous system of administration brought higher

authority into an unwelcome contact with a people long accustomed

to Hapsburg inefficiency and at the same time undercut the traditional

governmental hierarchy; desired revisions clashed with vested interests,

while for many they did not go far enough; and new economic and cor-

porate bases for social prestige undermined the existing structure of

society, alienating some, whetting the appetites of others. As a

consequence, traditional loyalties were strained, and the ambitious

attempt to regenerate the empire worked instead to hasten its dis-

solution. For the Viceroyalty of New Granada the processes identified

in this interpretation were all present but not always in the same

degree, for there the progress of the colonial reorganization appears

to have been less extensive than elsewhere in Spanish America. And,

in at least several critical instances, notably the Comunero Rebellion,

the conservative forces of discontent prevailed prior to the Wars for


The military aspect of the Bourbon Reforms in New Granada was

introduced in 1773; and, accompanied by an amplification of military

corporate privileges, it consisted of a strengthening of the regular

army and a reorganization of the colonial militia. In the sphere of

empire military reform, as with the reform movement to which it

pertained, a case has been made that the most important consequences

were to be found in side-effects which eventually obscured the program's

14See Rt. A. Humphreys and John Lynch (eds.), The Origins of the
Latin American Revolutions, 1808-1826 (New York, 1965).

original purpose. Lyle N. McAlister in a study on expanded military

privileges in New Spain found that the chief significance of :he

military reform there developed not so much in its greater corhrZbu-

tion to defense as in the long-run implications of its unexpected

disruptive impact upon existing civil institutions.

During the closing decades of Spanish dominion, the army, 'Tu
created, acquired prestige and power as the defender of the
nation in the face of almost constant threats of war and 1- asion.
By the very nature of its functions and constitution it -i= also
a class apart and so regarded itself- The possession of s=ecial
privileges enhanced its sense of uniqueness and superiority, and
at the same time rendered it virtually immune from civil z- hority.
Unfortunately, power and privilege were not accompanied by a com-
mensurate sense of responsibility. A large proportion of crficers
and men regarded military service as an opportunity for tm advance-
ment of personal interests rather than as a civil obligat-=i. Until
the abdication of Ferdinand VII in 1808, the troublemaking catential
of the military was held in check by a long tradition of 1-valty to
the crown. However, as the prestige of the monarchy decll-ed in the
following years, this limitation was removed and the army -nerged as
an autona ,us and irresponsible institution. It was this sr.-y,
urser the banner of the Three Guarantees, that consummateD
Independence and behind a facade of republican institutions made
itself master of Mexico.15

The present study shall determine if New Granada's military

reform worked in the same way, or if, as was apparently true mf the

broader colonial reorganization in that viceroyalty, there was a

deviation from the standard experience attributed to the other parts

of the empire. To accomplish this objective special emphasis 'ill be

placed upon the growth of the military corporation in size, function,

and prestige in relation to the existing institutional struct-rre.

Thereby, it will be possible to determine if the reform appreciably

altered the status of the military, and if so, to what extent. First,

15Lyle N. McAlister, The "Fuero Militar" in New Spain 17W4-1800
(Gainesville, Florida, 1957), p. 15.


however, It will be helpful to review the pre-reform defense system

of the viceroyalty.



The second establishment of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in

1739 fixed the jurisdiction of the viceroy as captain general of

Santa Fe de BogotA over most of the territory which now comprises

the nations of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. His authority

extended from the province of Veragua bordering the Captaincy General

of Guatemala in the north, to the province of Mainas on the Amazon

River in the south, and from the Presidency of Quito in the west, to

the province of Guayana across the Orinoco River on the Brazilian

frontier. Within these perimeters, only Caracas was independent of

his cocand. When the latter governorship was elevated to the rank

of a captaincy general in 1777, the three eastern provinces of Guayana,

CumanS. and Maracaibo, as well as the islands of Margarita and Trinidad,

were detached from Santa Fe and joined to the new military jurisdiction.

Thereafter, the Captaincy General of Santa Fe remained territorially

stable until just before the end of the colonial period, when the

southern provinces of Mainas, Quijos, and Guayaquil were transferred

to the Viceroyalty of Lima)

IRoyal cedula of July 15, 1802, and royal order of July 7, 1803,
with related correspondence, Cornelio Escipi6n Vernaza Compp.), Reco-
pilaci*n de documents oficiales de la 6poca colonial, con un ap6ndice
relativo a la independencla de Guayaquil . (Guayaquil, 1894), pp.

When the military reorganization was initiated in 1773, the main

defenses of the Viceroyalty of New Granada were concentrated within

three subsidiary military jurisdictions, the Commandancy Generals of

Cartagena, Panama, and Quito.2 The office of commandant general cor-

responded to the governor of the province from which each of these

units derived its name; in Quito this functionary was also the president

of the royal audiencia. In addition to their immediate governorship,

the commandant generals exercised military responsibilities in neighbor-

ing provinces. The Commandancy General of Cartagena extended east to

include Santa Marta and Riohacha; Panama encompassed Veragua, Porto-

belo, and DariEn; and Quito consisted of the seven governorships and

seven corregimientos dependent on that region's audiencia. While

the governors of Cartagena and Panama had traditionally acted as com-

mandant generals, the president of Quito did not enjoy that rank until

the administration of Viceroy Messfa de la Cerda.

It is difficult to formulate a set of hard and fast principles

defining the precise responsibilities of the commandant generals to

their outlying provinces. These relationships were vague and varied

considerably from one region to the next. Moreover, much depended

upon the individual administration involved and upon the particular

problems confronted. The conrmandant general of Cartagena exercised

2This excepts the areas later to be attached to Caracas.

3Governorships: Quito, Guayaquil, PopayAn, Cuenca, Mainas,
Quijos y Macas, Jagn de Bracamoros. Corregimientos: Quito, Loja y
Zamora, Riobamba, Chimbo or Guaranda, Ibarra, Tacunga, Otavalo.

4Silvestre, pp. 17-18.

authority in Santa Marta and Riohacha mainly in matters of common

defense involving his own governorship. The governor of Santa Marta

had an independent troop allotment and provided detachments for use

in Riohacha. In matters of local concern, he normally bypassed Car-

tagena, communicating directly with Santa Fe. In Quito, this was

also the prevailing relationship between the governors of Guayaquil

and Popaygn on the one hand, and their commandant general on the

other. However, the remaining provinces of that jurisdiction were

directly dependent on Quito for their troops and equipment. Likewise,

the provinces of Veragua, Portobelo, and Darien were dependent on

Panama for their military outlays. Nevertheless, the officials ruling

the dependent provinces within the jurisdiction of Panama and Quito,

although more directly tied to their respective commandant general

than their counterparts with independent troop allotments, often by-

passed this officer in purely local affairs. Not until the last decade

of the century did the functions of commandant generals assume more

clearly defined proportions.

The regular army of the Spanish domaTns was divided functionally

Into two types of military units, rotating and fiI, or fixed. Fijo

units were stationed in a particular locality on a permanent basis;

rotating troops were moved about the empire as need be, usually in

battalion strength. While the former depended largely upon local re-

sources for their recruits, the latter were European based and manned

mainly by Spaniards. In New Granada, where the population was small,

roughly one and one-half million, European troops were an especially

important asset since it was difficult to gather sufficient recruits to

allow fijo units to meet the region's extensive defense requirements.

Members of the regular army, whether from fijo or rotating units, were

also commonly called "veterans," and the latter usage shall be employed

interchangeably with "regular" in the present study.

Before the reorganization initiated in 1773, the permanent armed

forces of New Granada consisted of one battalion, eighteen companies,

and a detachment (piquete) of infantry; three companies and two half

companies of artillery; and a cavalry company (see Table 1). In time

of war or crisis they were normally supplemented by at least two

European battalions. For example, during the Seven Years War one bat-

talion each from the Spanish Regiments of Cantabria and Navarre were

dispatched to New Granada.5 They remained until mid 1763, at which

time they returned to Spain. Thereafter, New Granada also became a

frequent host to rotating units in time of peace. Two battalions from

the Regiment of the Queen arrived in Portobelo in 1766 for distribu-

tion in Panama and Quito.7 In 1769 they were replaced by two battalions,

one each from the Regiments of Murcia and Naples. A third battalion,

5Royal order, December 8, 1762, ANC: MM 83, fs. 316-322.

6Governor Gerardo Josef de la Sobrezza to Messfa de la Cerda,
Portobelo, May 11, 1763, ANC: MM 90, fs. 58-60.

7Governor Blasco Oresco to Messfa de la Cerda, Panama, August
27, 1766, ANC: MM 92, fs. 750-757.

8Governor Manuel de Agreda to Messia de la Cerda, Portobelo,
April 25, 1769, ANC: MM 64, fs. 108-111; Governor NicolIs de Castro
to Messfa de la Cerda, Panama, May 3, 1769, ANC: MM 90, fs. 825-826;
Governor Vicente de Olazinegui to Messfa de la Cerda, Panama, August,
1769, ibid., fs. 948-952; id.. to id., Panama, September 10, 1771, ANC:
MM 92, fs. 527-529.




Flio Infantry

Two companies of Santa Marta
Battalion of Cartagena
Detachment of Chagres
Company of Guayaquil
Three companies of Quito
Company of Popayin
Halberdier Guard of the Viceroy
Three companies of Maracaibo
Three companies of CumanS (estimated)
Three companies of Guayana
Company of Margarita Island


Total 1872


Royal Corps (Panama)
Royal Corps (Cartagena)
Company of Cartagena (attached to infantry battalion)
Half company of Santa Marta
Half company of Guayana

Cavalr r

Company of the Viceregal Guard

Spanish Rotating Infantry

Battalion of Murcia (Panama)
Battalion of Naples (Panama)
Battalion of Savoy (Cartagena)


TABLE I (cont.)

Militia -t

Numerous Unorganized Units ---

*The only available listing for the army at this time is
Francisco Antonio Moreno y Escand6n, "Estado del Nuevo Reino de
Santa Fe, Nuevo Reino de Granada, Ano de 1772," Boletfn de His-
toria v Antiquedades, XXIII (September-October, 1936), 609-610.
Unfortunately, Moreno's survey is far from systematic. For sone
units he lists authorized strength, for others he lists actual
strength;' for some he counts officers, for others he does not;
and in some cases he appears to have simply guessed. I have at-
tempted to systematize the list as much as possible basing my
entries on authorized strengths, not the force of the moment.
They do not include company officers and command and staff group
personnel which normally averaged about 6 per cent. This system .
is also followed in the other tables in the text. For corroborative
and corrective material for the Moreno list, see ANC: MM 51, fs.
601-602, nM 64, fs. 677-680, MM 65, fs. 370-372, MM 71, fs. 211-
214, 587-590, 1041-1044, 1066-1069, 1087, MM 81, fs. 962, MM 85,
fs. 230-233, 280-283, MM 89, fs. 585-596, MM 90, fs. 948-952, P.M
92, fs. 76-, 766, MM 97, fs. 837-842, MM 99, fs. 57-75, MM 100, fs.
658-659, 665-666, MM 103, fs. 75-88, 104-105, and MM 105, fs. 481-
486; ANC: Reales Ordenes 53, f. 188; ANC: Guerra v Marina 14,
f. 148; and ANE: Pres. 43, fs. 55-56, and Pres. 134, f. 101.

**Individual units and strengths have not been listed because
no uniform data are available. In any event, such information could
have little significance due to the erratic nature of company and bat-
talion organization.

this time from the Regiment of Savoy, was sent to Cartagena in 1771.9

In contrast to New Spain where this practice was abandoned in 1787, '

European units continued to serve in New Granada on into the nineteenth

In the Spanish Empire the regular army was supplemented by two

varieties of militia, provincial and urban. Urban militia was

normally sponsored by a municipality or a guild and was called into

service only when its immediate area was threatened. Provincial

militia, on the other hand, could be, and often was, employed for

duty outside its locality. In New Granada, the latter class was

both numerous and geographically diversified, ranging into the interior

as well as the coastal provinces. By contrast, urban militia seems

to have been almost non-existent. The only company which acquired

prominence in the records for the pre-reform period was that of the

Merchant Guild of Cartagena; this was a small unit consisting of

roughly fifty-four enlisted men and five officers.12

In Spain, the provincial militia underwent a major reform in

1734.13 Thereafter, "this class also became known as 'disciplined'

militia because the regiments had a standard organization, received

9Governor Gregorio de la Sierra to Messfa de la Cerda, Carta-
gena, October 11, 1771, ANC: MM 89, fs. 225-238.

10McAlister, The "Fuero Militar"". . p. 4.

1I1Flix Col6n y Larriategui, Juzoados militares de EspaRa v sus
Indias . (2a ed. corregida y aumentada; Madrid, 1788-89), 11, 562.

12Governor Fernando Mortllo Velarde to Messfa de la Cerda,
Cartagena, 1767, ANC: MM 57, fs. 1049-1053.

'13Col6n, II, 469.

systematic training, and were provided with a cadre of regular of-

ficers and enlisted men." Similar action was initiated in the

colonial empire beginning with Cuba in 1763.15 In New Granada,

none of the provincial militia was placed on a disciplined footing

until 1773. Prior to that time, they wer 'adly neglected and

generally in a state of shocking disarray.

Throughout New Granada the organizational structure of the

provincial militia had decayed to a point where it had become more

of a myth than a reality. Companies had few if any officers, lacked

training and discipline, and rarely possessed adequate equipment.

Drills were seldom held and membership rolls were outdated. On the

occasions when drills were conducted, attendance was frequently very

poor. For example, in 1761 a review was held in Riohacha to organize

men for the important task of confronting the Guajiro Indians.

Slightly more than 50 per cent of the membership appeared or had an

excusable absence.16 Moreover, in most cases drilling was of

questionable value; little could be accomplished for want of competent

professional advice. This was true in Neiva where the governor reported

that the officers, sergeants, and corporals knew nothing of the prin-

ciples of military procedure or of the art of warfare.17 In some areas

14McAllster, The "Fuero Militar" , p. 2.

15Lyle N. McAlister, "The Reorganization of the Army of New
Spain, 1763-67," The Hispanic American Historical Review, XXXIII
(February, 1953), 1-32.
16Governor of Riohacha to Messfa de la Cerda, Riohacha, ANC:
MM 97, fs. 848-850.

17Miguel de Gi6vez to Messfa de la Cerda, Neiva, March 19, 1766,
ANC: MM 105, fs. 901-902.

the militia had almost totally disintegrated. Francisco Requena, an

engineer commissioned to Guayaquil to initiate plans for fortifica-

tions, reported in 1771 that the militia of that important Pacific

port "existed in name only." In 1759 the governor of Maracaibo,

a province also important for defense purposes, colorfully referred

to the companies under his command as "ghost" militia.19 Indeed,

membership in the provincial militia seems to have signified little

more than a commitment to come forward to fight in case of attack.

In 1766 an unusually thorough inventory of men and equipment

was compiled for the forces of Ibaguo which clearly illustrates the

characteristic weaknesses of the pre-reform militia. There were

three companies nominally totaling 1,165 members. These units were

segregated, at least superficially, on a racial basis and varied sub-

stantially in individual strength. There were 526 whites, 280 mes-

tizos, and 274 mulattoes and Negroes. This left 85 unaccounted for,

as they failed to appear for review. Of the 1,080 militiamen who

attended, 33 were 60 years of age or older; two members had reached

80! The weaponry was far from adequate. There were only 69 fire-

arms, Including 61 rifles and 8 pistols, 200 swords, 9 daggers, 301

sabers, 164 machetes, and 109 lances. Most of the firearms belonged

to members of the company of whites. For that matter, many of this

unit possessed two weapons, leaving a third of the militiamen without

18Francisco Requena to Messfa de la Cerda, Guayaqull, ANC: MM
100, fs. 328-333.

1Governor of Maracaibo to Messfa de la Cerda, Maracaibo, ANC:
MM 105 fs. 489-492.

as much as a machete. Moreover, the companies of Ibagud had no

officers.21 It is difficult to believe that militia so poorly

prepared could have constituted a significant asset to the vice-

royalty's defense establishment.

In spite of its neglected condition, the provincial militia

was a needed adjunct to the small forces of the regular army and

was relied upon as a source of reserve strength. From time to time

these amateurs were called to active duty. During British Admiral

Vernon's siege of Cartagena in 1741, for example, two companies

of free pardos and Negroes, and 300 other militiamen formed part

of the army which turned back the Anglo-Saxon invaders.22 In the

province of Riohacha, militia was frequently used to supplement

regular troops employed in frontier duty against the Guajiro In-

dians.23 And, during the Pebellion of the Barrios in Quito, 1765-

66, 150 Spaniards, residents of the presidency's province of

Guaranda, were enlisted to assist an expeditionary force sent from

Panama to restore order.24 In a sense, however, the last two

examples were a discredit to the defense system. The militia from

20Governor Ignacio Nicolas Buenaventura to Messfa de la Cerda,
IbaguS. Ibid., fs. 903-928.
21Governor Agustfn Zeferino Correa to Messfa de la Cerda,
Ibague, October 27, 1765, jibld., fs. 872-873.

22Diary of Viceroy Sebastian de Eslava, Roberto ArrSzola
Compp.), Historial de Cartagena (Cartagena, 1961), p. 333.
23See chapter V.

24Sargento Mayor Andrgs Javier Arregui to Messfa de la Cerda,
Guaranda, May 25, 1766, ANC: MM 101, fs. 539-540.

Guaranda appears to have been enlisted extemporaneously without any

prior military training. Moreover, when in 1770 the governor of

Santa Marta, Manuel Herrera Leyba, was ordered by Viceroy Messfa de

la Cerda to mobilize fifty militiamen to supplement fifty regulars

destined for frontier duty in Rrohacha, he was unable to comply

because the available men were so poorly trained that they were next

to useless. Under the circumstances, he asked for authority to

employ twenty-four additional regulars instead.25 A defense system

which in time of emergency was forced to call upon reserves of this

caliber must have been anything but formidable.

On occasion, there were governors who took a lively interest

In the condition of their provinces' militia, but they were the

exception, not the rule. Most of the provincial leaders appear to

have been more or less indifferent to the problem, an attitude which,

If not shared at the viceregal level, was not vigorously discouraged.

In any event, without intensified assistance from Spain in providing

trained officers, adequate equipment, and proper incentives, sustained

efforts toward maintaining a well-disciplined militia were bound to

fall. Comprehensive reform was In order if the provincial militia

was to beccene an effective component for the defense of the viceroyalty.

New Granada's main defenses were based on an extensive series of

coastal strongholds and fortified cities. The most important were

Guayana, Cumani, Maracaibo, Santa Marta, Cartagena, Portobelo, Panama,

and Guayaquil. With the exception of a small number of companies

25AnC: MM 97, fs. 499-500.

stationed in the interior, the regular army of the viceroyalty had

traditionally been deployed arong these coastal defense bases and

in their respective provinces. A survey of these centers of military

activity will illustrate the motives for reform, as well as disclose

a number of special conditions which subsequently had a direct

influence on the military receganization.

Cartagena was by far the most important of the coastal defense

bases and accordingly was allotted larger quantities of personnel,

equipment, and fortifications. In conjunction with Santa Marta, it

guarded the Magdalena Valley transportation route into the interior

of the viceroyalty and was considered the key to the defenses of

northern South America. Became of the importance of this strong-

hold, the office of governor and commandant general of Cartagena was

one of the most prestigious in the viceroyalty. Indeed, in one

instance, a governor moved directly from Cartagema to serve as interim

viceroy. The defense complex of Cartagena was built around an

intricate system of fortifications.27 The character of these instal-

lations, while generally only of marginal interest in this study,

does tie directly into the reorganization in several important respects.

One of these was the problem of military finance, the other was the

question of manpower allocation.

The city of Cartagena ws located on a narcw tract of land

with its back to the open sea, and it faced a large deep bay to which

2This man was Juan PiNrenta who briefly served following the
resignation of Manuel Antonio Flores in 1782.

27The most exhaustive pajblicatlon on Cartagena's fortifications
Is Enrique Marco Dorta, Cert--na de Indias: pnrnto y plaza fuerte
(Cartagena, 1960).

it was connected by a small inlet, the Bay of Animas. The main bay

of Cartagena had two channels opening into the ocean, Boca Grande

and Boca Chica. Between them was situated a large island, Tierra

Bomba. The mainland side of the bay was webbed with swamps and lakes

making difficult movement from one end to the other by land.

During the period under consideration, four major installations

constituted the exterior defenses of Cartagena: the fortresses of San

Fernando and San Sebastian del Pastelillo, the battery of San Jost,

and the castle of San Felipe de Barajas. San Fernando, a very formidable

structure, and San Jost had been erected on either side of the channel

of Boca Chica to prevent entrance into the main bay. San Sebastian,

located on the mouth of the Bay of Animas, provided a second line of

defense. Should entrance be forced into the main bay, this fortress

would hamper penetration directly to the walls of the city. The

largest and most formidable of all the fortifications was San Felipe.

Dating from 1667, this massive structure was built on a small hill on

the mainland side of Cartagena, dominating land approaches to the city.

This installation was required due to two possibilities. First, an

enemy once safely within the calm waters of the bay might choose to

land his forces and maneuver toward the city through the swamps on

the bay's mainland side. This strategy was applied by the Bar6n de

Points in 1697 and by Admiral Vernon in 1741. The other possibility

was that an aggressor might land his forces directly on the main beach

to the back of the city. This was unlikely, however, because a strong

undertow made such an operation extremely hazardous. This had been

the original plan of Pointis, but his boats were unable to reach the

shore; he soon realized that his attack must be launched through the

main bay. The last line of defense was the wall of the city itself,

complete with built-in installations facing the sea, bay, and land

approaches. In addition, many of the fortifications of the city and

bay had small approach batteries to bolster the more vulnerable

aspects of their individual defenses.

The one great weakness which imperiled the security of Carta-

gena was its vulnerability through the channel of Boca Grande. This

opening had filled in with sand in the middle of the seventeenth

century and the bay's defense installations had been built on the

premise that it would remain closed. Just prior to the outbreak

of the War of Jenkins' Ear, a small waterway was opened in the old

channel for purposes of naval mobility; this triggered an unexpected

wave of erosion which in time completely reopened the channel. Rather

than construct a new series of fortresses on the location, it was

decided to build a dike across the channel which would finally resolve

the problem as well as limit manpower requirements. The project was

begun in 1771 under the direction of Antonio de Argvalo and was

concluded in 1778 at the cost of approximately one and a half million

pesos.28 Compared to the annual revenue of the Real Hacienda of New

Granada at that time, placed by Antonio Moreno y Escand6n in 1772 at

one million pesos, this was a huge monetary outlay.29 Moreover,

28Marco Dorta, pp. 273-276. 297-301; Silvestre, p. 64.

291n this sum, Moreno does not include revenues from the two
mints in Santa Fe and Pepaygn or the small income derived from the
royal fifth of pearls a d emeralds. Part of New Granada's defense

Cartagena's fortifications were subject to constant damage at the

hands of nature and required an almost continual process of re-

construction. These expenditures placed a hard strain on defense

funds, a crisis which coincided with the early years of the military

reform. The absence of adequate funds eventually had an important

impact on the development of the reorganized military.

Manpower requirements for Cartagena were abnormally large, not

only due to the size of her fortifications, but also because of their

widely scattered locations. The defenses of Boca Chica were ten

miles from the city making difficult if not impossible the rapid

transfer of men from one part of the complex to another. Neverthe-

less, sufficient military forces were rarely, if ever, provided due

to weaknesses inherent in the pre-reform defense mechanism. Cartagena

did maintain a fixed battalion, but this unit was chronically under-


The glorious Spanish victory over the British forces of Admiral

Vernon in 1741 is attributable to heroism, the deadly fortifications

of Cartagena, and perhaps British tactical error, but not to personnel

preparedness. At the time of the British attack, Cartagena's fixed

battalion was supplemented by troops frc. two Spanish battalions

dispatched to New Granada from the Regiments of Spain and Arag6n,

but the regular troops totaled only 1JO0. Although these units

expenditures were defrayed by her neighboring viceroyalties. Peru was
responsible for financing the maintenance of Panama's and Portobelo's
fortifications and their garrisons. New Spain was obliged to assist
with the expenses of the coast guard. Moreno y Escand6n, Boletfn de
historia y antiq~edades, XXVI, 602-606.

were supplemented by militia and some 1,000 seamen, the defenders were

badly outmanned by the invaders who possessed a landing force of some

9P00 men.30 Indeed, the margin of victory was not great. The British

forces broke through the defenses at Boca Chica, entered the bay,

captured a secondary line of fortresses in operation at that time,

and managed to drive all of the way to the Castle of San Felipe de

Barajas (also known then as San LSzaro) before being repulsed.31

Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa in their Noticias secrets

revealed precisely how fragile were the defenses of Cartagena.

The defense bases through which we traveled on the coasts of New
Granada en route to Peru were Cartagena, Portobelo, and the fortress
of Chagres which defends the entrance to the river of the same name.
These three defense complexes, although strong in fortifications,
did not possess in the essentials those capabilities which comple-
ment works of fortification for forming a rigorous resistance; and
although the contrary was experienced in Cartagena when the English
laid siege and were rejected with such great honor that the very
ferocious defense made filled the arms of Spain with glory, it is
common knowledge that the defense was bolstered by timely assistance
afforded by the arrival in the port of the squadron of Lieutenant
General Bias de Lezo, whose crew and munitions were employed
against the enemy from the first attack against the castle of San
Luis de Boca Chica, and although retreating to the base's interior
fortifications when it became necessary, they did-not quit the
defense until the enemy withdrew in dispair; the same applies for
the troops that were sent from Spain for garrison duty, and the
presence of two highly experienced leaders as were Don Sebastian
de Eslava (viceroy) and Don Bias de Lezo, all of which were missing
when we were there; and for that matter, the major portion of the
garrison that belongs there by allotment is still missing.

They further reported that although the fixed battalion's ten companies

should have totaled 770 men, a force which when aided by militia could

probably have managed a passable defense, in practice the unit was so

30giary of Viceroy Eslava, Arrdzola, p. 333.

31Charles E. Nowell, 'The Defense of Cartagena," The Hispanic
American Historical Review, XLII (November, 1962), 491-501.

depleted that the majority of the sentry boxes was not staffed. It

was also pointed out that discipline was exceedingly poor.32

It is apparent that at the time of Juan and Ulloa's visit, Car-

tagena would have been hard pressed to have offered suitable resistance

without the aid of Spanish reinforcements. This was a risky situation

as there was no absolute assurance that Spanish troops would be on

hand in time of emergency.' After the Seven Years War, during which

time Spanish reinforcements were again dispatched to Cartagena, the

crown began to assume a more vigorous attitude toward that defense base's

security. The fixed battalion was maintained near full force and a

company from the Royal Corps of Artillery was sent to Cartagena for

permanent service.33 The tenth company of the fixed battalion was

also an artillery company. Furthermore, the almost continual presence

of Spanish battalions in the viceroyalty during the post-war period

provided added security. However, a major effort to solve the

personnel problem was not made until 1773.

The remaining troops within the Commandancy General of Cartagena

were maintained at Santa Marta. The city was fortified, but this

defense center was of only secondary importance. Its forces consisted

of two companies of Infantry and a half company of artillery. Often,

part of this fixed contingent was employed in the sister province of

32Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, Noticias secrets de America
(Si1lo XVIII) (Madrid, 1918), I, 154-155.

330e la Sierra to Messfa de la Cerda, Cartagena, October 11, 1771,
ANC: MM 89, fs. 225-238; Troop inspection reports, Cartagena, 1765-
1768, ANC: MM 71, fs. 211-214, 587-590; 1041-1044, 1066-1069; 1087-

Riohacha for frontier duty against the Guajiro Indians, a formidable

nation posing a constant threat to the peace of the region.34 In

time of great need, Cartagena was relied upon for reinforcements.

Because of its strategical location, the Commandancy General

of Panama's defense bases were the second most important group in New

Granada. Both ports, Panama on the Pacific side of the isthmus and

Portobelo on the Caribbean, were fortified as was the entrance to the

Chagres River, part of the main transportation artery for interocean

crossings. However, Panama's military importance was not matched

either by economic productivity or by population. An important com-

mercial crossroads under the Galleon system, this region suffered a

drastic decline in economic importance upon the legal opening of the

Cape Horn route to licensed vessels. This recession was reflected

by the reduction of Panama from the seat of an audiencia to a mere

governorship in 1751. In addition, population was very sparse. Ac-

cording to Francisco Silvestre, a government functionary writing in

1789, the governorship of Panama had only 35,942 pacified inhabitants,

Veragua 21,061, Portobelo 1l62, and Darien 1,266. Throughout the

last half of the eighteenth century, these characteristics made Panama

and its dependencies an exceptional burden on the viceroyalty's defense


The condition of Panama's fijo units was the worst In the vice-

royalty. An attempt had been made to maintain a battalion of seven

34See chapter V.

35SIlvestre, pp. 43-50.

companies which was the bare minimum required for adequate defense

of the isthmus. However, apparently in order to reduce expenditures,

this battalion in time of peace was maintained only at the level of

a skeleton force. In 1759 its membership totaled only 119 enlisted

men plus a small number of officers.36 By recruiting from European

rotating battalions returning to Spain after service in Panama during

the Seven Years War, it was possible to increase the number of troops.

However, by 1769 the commandant general reported to the viceroy that

battalion strength had decreased to the point where it existed only

in name.38

The danger in failing to maintain a substantial permanent military

force was amply demonstrated in 1739 by the attack of Admiral Vernon

against Portobelo. Unpreparedness and indiscipline were so great

that the British invaders encountered practically no resistance.

England declared war on October 19; word reached Panama on November

8; and Vernon appeared in Portobelo harbor on December 2.9 Although

the British force was much smaller than that employed against Carta-

gena in 1741, its size made little difference because the attack fol-

lowed the declaration of war so closely that emergency preparations

were incomplete. The governor of Panama had not begun to organize the

G36overnor Manuel de Montlano to Viceroy Jost de Solfs, Panama,
ANC: MM 103, fs. 709-712.

37Governor Josef de Arana to Messfa de la Cerda, Panama, March 14,
1764, ANC: MM 90, fs. 43-47.

3801azinegui to Messfa de la Cerda, Panama, ibid., fs. 948-952.

39james Furguson King (ed.), "Admiral Vernon at Portobelo: 1739,"
The Hispanic American Historical Review. XXIII (May, 1943), 259-260.

defense of the isthmus; no Spanish reinforcements had arrived; and

to make matters worse, the majority of the regulars stationed in

Portobelo were sick in the hospital. The governor of Portobelo was

forced to rely on the militia and about 175 combat troops sent ashore

by the coast guard.40

Vernon began his attack at mid-day and after only an hour's

combat had captured the first of Portobelo's major fortifications.

By that evening most of the militia had deserted and resistance had

disintegrated. With the cause being so obviously hopeless, the

authorities capitulated the following day, terminating one of the

most disgraceful episodes of Spanish military history.41 After

leveling Portobelo's fortifications, Vernon momentarily abandoned the

port in favor of greater objectives elsewhere. He returned in April,

1742, contemplating an attack on Panara, but by that time the second

battalion of the Regiment of Granada had arrived. Apparently believing

that these reinforcements would make operations too difficult, he

withdrew without attacking.42

In spite of Vernon's victory, no major changes were made in

the defenses of the Commandancy General of Panama. The fixed units

continued to languish; the militia remained disorganized and un-

disciplined; and European troops, if they could arrive on time, were

L0Council of War of 1he Lieutenant Governor of Portobelo . .
December 2, 1739, and Relaci6n de lo executado en la defense . ,
December 8, 1739, in King, The Hisoanic !-erican Historical Review,
XXIII, 269-271, 275-280.

420idor Antonio Beresteguli, "Relaci6n "sobre el gobierno del
Virrey Eslava," Relaciones de Mando . p. 20.

considered as the mainstay of the isthmus' war time defenses. During

the Seven Years War, European troops were again dispatched to the com-

mandancy general and they continued to serve on a regular basis in the

peace that followed. In addition, one company from the Royal Corps of

Artillery was placed in Panama. With the total disintegration of

the fixed battalion in 1769, the dependence on rotating combat units

became complete.

The remaining regular troops in the Caribbean region of the

Captaincy General of Santa Fe were those of the three eastern provinces

of Guayana, Cumand, and Maracaibo, and of the island of Margarita.

These garrisons were the source of complaints similar to those already

discussed for the other defense bases. Moreover, the island of Trini-

dad was without a fixed military establishment. Each of the three

mainland governorships maintained several infantry companies on a

fixed basis, units which in the pre-reform tradition were chronically

understaffed.45 If anything, their condition was below par for New

Granada due to their remoteness from the center of military activity.

A safe distance from the troubled waters of the Caribbean, the

provinces of the Commandancy General of Quito were relatively late in

obtaining fixed military establishments. Prior to 1764, the only

permanent regular troops in this region were the audiencia's guard

43Sobrezza to MessFa de la Cerda, Portobelo, May 11, 1763, ANC:
MM 90, fs. 58-60; Agreda to Messra de la Cerda, Portobelo, July 27,
1766, ANC: MM 92, fs. 760-766.

44Messfa de la Cerda, Relaciones de mando . p. 117.

45Governor Pedro Jose Urrutia to Messfa de la Cerda, Cumand,
1766, ANC: MM 61, fs. 413-414; Governor Alfonso del Rfo to Messfa
de la Cerda, Maracaibo, February 15, 1769, ANC: MM 15, fs. 774-795;
Governor Manuel Centurl6n to Messia de la Cerda, Guayana, 1769, ANC:
MM 64, fs. 677-680.

of twenty-five men. In that year a request was made and author-

ization from the crown received for the augmentation of this company

to fifty members. The following year Viceroy Messfa de la Cerda

formulated a proposal which would increase the number of regulars in

the commandancy general to 200 men. These were to be distributed for

service among Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil. The crown granted its

approval on June 26, 1765. However, this plan was interrupted and

later altered due to the severe upheaval which began in Quito a month

before the crown's action.

The Rebellion of the Barrios which erupted on the evening of

May 22, 1765, was one of the strongest uprisings in the late colonial

period. It began as a prearranged violent mass protest against the

aguardiente monopoly and the aduana, and contained strong anti-

Spanish undertones. Initially, the tax collection house was attacked

and burned and aguardiente was dumped into the streets. As the evening

progressed the temper of the mob grew meaner, ultimately compelling the

oilores of the audiencia to take pacificatory measures through the

mediation of the Jesuits. They agreed to suppress the monopoly and the

aduana, and in addition, granted a general pardon to all involved in

the disorders. With these assurances, the mob dispersed,ending serious

disturbances for a month. In the meantime, however, sporadic violence

was directed against Spaniards and their households.49

46Royal order, June 26, 1765, ANC: MM 51, f. 67.

47Royal order, September 26, 1764, ANC: MM 100, fs. 23-24.

48ANC: MM 51, f. 67.

49Federico GonzAlez Suhrez, Historia general de la Repdblica de
Ecuador (Quito, 1819-1901), V, 213-216.

On the evening of June 24 rioting broke out again, this time

stemming from an incident in the plaza of Santo Domingo. There, an

alnuacil accompanied by his assistants set upon a small group of

men, whipping two of them. This deed, whether justified or not,

again aroused the passions of the citizenry. The ensuing tunn'j]t

became clearly directed against the city's Spanish elite, reportedly

because of their haughty, abusive behavior. Some 200 were forced to

take refuge in the palace of the royal audiencia where they held off

the attacking mob with cannon and firearms; the oidores, abandoning

honor, hid in a convent. By the evening of June 28, with ammunition

and supplies depleted, there was little choice but to capitulate.

Throughout this turmoil the meager guard of the audiencia was unable

to play a significant role.50

In compliance with the wishes of the victors, the audiencia,

which continued to remain in hiding for some time after the fall of

the palace, finally agreed to the exile within eight days of all

unmarried Spaniards. In addition, the suppression of the aguardiente

monopoly and the aduana was reiterated. These terms were confirmed

by the viceroy on September 17, including a general pardon for all

participants. Thereafter, Quito was again at peace, but government

officials felt compelled to exercise their authority only with the

greatest discretion. Full governmental power was restored only after

a military expedition of 600 militiamen and regulars, originating in

Panama and Peru, marched into the troubled city in September of the

following year under the command of Juan Antonio Zelaya, governor of

50lbid., pp. 216-220.

Guayaquil.51 With that the rebellion was dead, but it had succeeded

in humiliating the Spanish regime, in undermining administration faith

in the innocence of the vassals of Quito, and in demonstrating the

deficiency of the small military establishment.

This series of events was considered additionally serious

because the unrest spread into surrounding areas. In the governor-

ship of Popayhn direct repercussions were felt in the cities of Cali,

Cartago, and Popayan. There also, the authorities had to temporarily

heed the popular demand for the relaxation of taxes and government

monopolies.52 To make matters worse, out of all the uprisings the

officials were able to apprehend only one suspected leader.53 Every-

where, resources for effective riot control were proven badly defective,

The authorities were quick to perceive in this series of events

a close connection between public order and military strength. Vice-

roy Messfa de la Cerda expressed his thoughts on this subject in his

relaci6n to Don Manuel Guirior in 1772.

. let it be noted, that the obedience of the inhabitants in
this kingdom has no other support, with the exception of the
garrisons, than the free will and pleasure with which the in-
habitants comply with orders; because, without their approval,
there is no force, weapon, or authority which their superiors
can use to gain respect and obedience; hence, command is very
hazardous and the good success of measures taken is excessively
provisional; by the same token, this lack of confidence requires
treading lightly and, at times, without complete freedom, trying
to be accommodating to the circumstances; and, according to this
situation, it results that the enemy can be of two categories,
the disobedient vassals and the rebellious barbarians who dwell
in the interior of the provinces.

51.Lb., pp. 220-226.

52Gustavu Aboleda, Historia de Calt (Cali, 1928), p. 441.

53Messfa de la Cerda, Relaciones de manda . p. 113.

The viceroy went on to report that he believed disloyal vassals to

be the most dangerous of the two threats, citing the humiliating

experience in Quito as evidence of the fact.54

Shortly after the rebellion was suppressed, Messfa de la Cerda

sent a communication to the president of Quito indicating his desire

to establish a large fixed regular force in the troubled areas which

would act as an agent for the preservation of domestic peace and

order,55 Such a program was not accomplished for several years, how-

ever. In the meantime, troop detachments usually numbering about 200

men were employed from Panama. For the most part these soldiers were

drawn from the European battalions currently available.56 The first

new fijo company was established in Guayaquil in 1767.57 Four years

later a fijo' contingent of three companies was organized for the city

of Quito, as well as one unit for Popayhn.58 All five were infantry


The troop commitment in Guayaquil was an outgrowth of efforts

already in. progress to build that port into a coastal defense base.


55President Juan Antonio Zelaya to Messfa de la Cerda, Quito,
April,.1767, ANC: MM 101, fs. 555-556.
560rosco to Messfa de la Cerda, Panama, July 1766, ANC: MM 92,
fs. 750-757; Captain Francisco Antonio FernAndez to hessfa de la Cer-
da, Quito, June 3, 1767, ANC:- MM 100, fs. 745-754.
57Governor Francisco de Ugarte' to Guirior, Guayaquil, August 2,
1773, ANE: Pres. 194, fs. 51-62.
580e la Sierra to Messfa de ]a Cerda, Cartagena, February, 1771,
ANC: HM 103, fs. 104-105; Report of Subinspector General Joaqufn de
Canaveral, Cartagena, May, 1793, ANC: MM 92, fs. 1019-35.

By royal order of December 8, 1762, the corregimiento of Guayaquil

was transformed into a governorship to be "served by a military

subject."59 In addition, plans for fortifications there were already

underway. More significant were the companies of Quito and PopaySn

which were the first units of appreciable size employed for duty in

the interior of the viceroyalty. This departure from the traditional

pattern, while initiated prior to the rebellion, was certainly in-

fluenced by it. First, the 200 troops deployed in the interior of the

commandancy general were a stronger force than that originally proposed.

Furthermore, the distribution pattern was altered; three full companies

for the city of Quito were more than formerly contemplated, and Cuenca

remained without a fixed contingent. And, the company of Popayfn was

an innovation explicitly formed for the purpose of enforcing royal

authority in response to unrest stimulated by tax collection.60 While

the new troop commitment in the interior of the Commandancy General of

Quito was not a huge or a particularly impressive force in its own

right, it was subsequently of primary importance in the evolution of

the military reform.

Although the evidence is not conclusive, a possible additional

consequence of the events In Quito and PopayAn was a strengthening of

the viceregal guard In Santa Fe de Bogota in 1768. With the excep-

tion of a small number of men employed for mission escort duty, the

59Abel-Romero Castillo, Los Gobernadores de Guayaquil del Siglo
XVIII (Madrld, 1931), pp. 48-49.

OExpedlente sobre el despacho de la compaifa fi a de Pooayvn a
Quito 1777, ANC: 1MM 52, fs. 520-529.

guard had been the only regular troops stationed in the interior of the

viceroyalty prior to the establishment in the Conmmandancy General of

Quito. It was established in 1750 consisting of two companies, one of

cavalry, the other of halberdiers. Although royal authorization for

this act provided for 100 men in the first unit and sixty men in the

second, Viceroy Jlos Alonso Pizarro chose to limit the new companies to

fifty men each.61 However, shortly after the Rebellion of the Barrios

in Quito, Viceroy iFessfa de la Cerda requested authorization to increase

these companies by twenty-five men each and royal approval soon fol-

lobed.62 Althoo h it is entirely possible that the strengthening of

the Guard had no direct relationship to the events in the Presidency

of Quito, circumstantial evidence indicates that this was indeed the

case. In the first place, the position of the viceregal capital was

similar to that of Quito in that the coastal armies, the nearest source

of military aid, were a considerable distance away; second, Messfa de

la Cerda's previtcrsly quoted statements regarding the subject of

domestic obedience indicated an appreciation for the role of the

military in supporting governmental authority; and, last, the numerical

upgrading of the viceroy's guard occurred simultaneously with the

establishment of interior military forces in Quito and Popaydn.

Whatever the case, although the changes in the viceregal guard did

represent a 50 per cent manpower increase, the resulting force was

still far from formidable. And, in spite of all the alterations

61Royal order, July 17, 1751, ANC: Reales Ordenes 53, f. 188.

62Tribunal de Cuentas to Viceroy Messta-de la Cerda, Santa Fe,
August 9, 1768, AIC: MM 51, fs. 601-602.


and innovations incurred in the interior of the viceroyalty after 1765,

the character of New Granada's military coaitment remained primarily




The 1773 initiation of military reform in the Viceroyalty of

New Granada featured both a strengthening of the regular army and

the formation of new, "disciplined," militia. With New Granada's

key defense bases badly undermanned and its militia in a chaotic

condition, such action was imperative if the viceroyalty were to

become reasonably capable of repelling foreign invasion. However,

in undertaking preparations for the next phase of its struggle with

Great Britain, the Spanish monarchy had first directed its attention

to the more important and more vulnerable portions of its empire.

In 1763 a military reorganization was started in Cuba and Puerto
Rico, and in the following year efforts were extended to New Spain.

Before reaching New Granada, the military reform had also been

introduced in Peru.2 Consequently, the year 1773 was a comparatively

late date In the overall introductory process. With pioneering

experiences already completed, New Granada was able to take advantage

of a well-developed militia policy.

IMcAlister, The Hispanic American Historical Review, XXXIII, 9.

2Manuel de Amat y Junient, Memoria de qobierno, eds. Vicente
Rodrfguez Casado and Florentino Pgrez Embid (Sevilla, 1947), pp. 716-

Military reform was introduced piecemeal into New Granada with

no apparent comprehensive plan of dissemination from province to

province. The only thing approaching such a norm was a negative

accord by all parties concerned that endeavors should at first be

restricted to only those areas most critically in need of an invigorated

military establishment. The crown's initial reform plans were limited

in scope to the two most important defense centers, Cartagena and

Panama. Thereafter, the reorganization only gradually progressed

to other parts of the viceroyalty. Moreover, once the reform

advanced beyond Cartagena and Panama, little in the way of direct

aid was extended from Spain; rather, local resources and talents

were employed for the new programs.

Politically, the expansion of the military reform was conducted

upon the initiative of the government in Santa Fe. And, although

their measures required ultimate approval in Spain, the viceroys

themselves soon became the reorganization's active policy makers.

As a consequence of its piecereal introduction, the reform movement

assumed a decidedly federalist character; this was especially true

In the sphere of organizing disciplined militia. The programs

Implemented were frequently responses to local problems and were in

turn managed largely at the local level This pattern of diffusion

contrasted with the policy followed in New Spain where a special com-

mission under the direction of Lieutenant General Juan de Villalba y

Angulo was charged with implementing a comprehensive reform for the

entire viceroyalty.3 Only toward the end of the colonial period did

3McAlister, The "Fuero ilitar" . . pp. 3-4.

the Viceroyalty of New Granada develop a militia institutional system

of a more or less centralized nature.

The ability to conduct the militia aspect of the reform without

the benefit of a special high-ranking commission was enhanced by the

late date of New Granada's reform. By 1773 an extensive set of royal

legislation had already been enacted which served as a guideline for

disciplined militia organization. The most comprehensive crown policy

statement was the Real declaraci6n sobre puntos esenciales de la orde-

hanza de milicias provinciales de EspaFa que interim se regla la formal,

que corresponde a estos cuerpos, se debe observer como tal en todas sus

parties (Madrid, 1767), which was an up to date summary of crown legisla-

tion for the disciplined militia of Spain. In addition, a reglarento,

which was an American appendix to the Real declaraciSn and which con-

tained provisions especially applicable to the Caribbean region, was

Issued for Cuba in 1769.4 For the reform In New Granada, the royal

Instructions specified that the new militia was to be formed in ac-

cordance with the provisions of the Cuban reglamento; a number of

copies were sent to Cartagena and Panama.5

The reform was initiated by a royal order of November 24, 1772,

which commanded the expansion of Cartagena's fixed regular battalion

Into a regiment consisting of two battalions of nine companies each;

a second order issued on January II, 1773, reestablished the fixed

4 eolamento para las militias de infanterfa, v caballerfa de la
Isla do Cuba. aorobado por S.M. (.Ravana, 1769).

5Governor Roque de Quiroga to Guirlor, Cartagena, June IT, !773.
ANC: RM 87, fs. 784-795.

battalion of Panama. Orders for the establishment of disciplined

militia came on February 12, 1773, for Panama, and on March 18, 1773,

for Cartagena.7 The Comnmandancy General of Panama was authorized

to organize three battalions and twelve separate companies in the

governorshipsof Panama and Portobelo. More flexibility was granted

to Cartagena in that the Instructions did not place a definite

limitation on the number of units to be organized; the authorities

were instructed to form a battalion at a time confining recruitment

to only the more worthy candidates. Enough equipment for four bat-

talions was sent from Spain.8

For the implementation of these programs, existing institutions

were employed. In both Cartagena and Panama reform direction was

entrusted to the commandant generals; Roque de Quiroga occupied

this office in Cartagena and Nicolis Quijano in Panama. The new

responsibilities of the commandant generals regarding the regular army

were consistent with their traditional functions as supra-provincial

commanders just below the level of the viceroy in the chain of com-

mand. Moreover, their own governorships were those most involved.

In the sphere of disciplined militia leadership the commandant generals

assumed the duty of inspector, the most powerful militia post below

the viceregal level. That function placed them in a position to control

:ouiroga to Secretary of the Viceroy Pedro de Ureta, Cartagena,
February 8, 1773, ANC: MM 85, fs. 865-867; Governor Micol6s Quijano
to Guirior, Panama, June, 1773, ANC: MM 90, fs. l044-1049.

7Royal order, February 12, 1773, ANC: MM 98, f, 539; Royal
order, March 18, 1773, ANC: MM 87, fs. 790-794.


officer appointments, to conduct inspections, to serve as intermediar-

les in correspondence between the leaders of the various units and the

viceroy, and to maintain general supervision of militia affairs. For

the initial formation, they were personally entrusted by the crown

with raising the new units. The employment of the individual com-

mandant generals for the implementation of the reform provided the

advantage of on the spot direction uninhibited by the geographical

separation of the two affected regions which were connected only by


The expansion of the regular arrry was rapidly terminated. In

accord with royal provision, the new units were formed out of recruits

drawn from the European battalions currently deployed in the vice-

royalty. The Battalion of Savoy provided personnel for Cartagena's

second battalion, the Battalions of Murcia and Naples for Panama.9

The tenth company of Cartagena's original fixed battalion, the artil-

lery company, was disbanded and replaced by a new unit pertaining to

the Royal Corps of Artillery.10 The resvainder of the three European

battalions then returned to Spain.11 This expansion tripled the

strength of the regular fixed contingent in the two commandancy

generals, thereby drastically increasing the self-reliance of those

9Colonel Josef Bernet to Guirior, Cartagena, May 11, 1773, ANC:
MM 87, fs. 739-745; Quijano to Guirior, Panama, June, 1773, ANC: MM
90, fs. 1044-1049.

10Quiroga to Guirior, July II, 1773, ANC: MM 71, fs. 237-244.

Quiroga to Ureta, Cartagena, June 11, 1773, ANC: MM 84, fs.
916-923; Quiroga to Guirior, Cartagera. June 24, 1773, ANC: MM 87,
fs. 764-768; Quijano to Guirior, Panama, June, 1773, ANC: MM 90,
fs. 1044-1049.

key strategic areas. Although future complications required further

employment of Spanish troops in the viceroyalty, the main burden of

defense from 1773 forward was borne by the newly strengthened local


The formation of disciplined militia was a tedious task entail-

ing the creation of an officer corps, the enlistment of troops, and the

provision of arms and other supplies; not until almost a year after the

initiating royal orders did the new units emerge in semi-finished form

prepared for drilling.12 in Cartagena two battalions and fifty-eight

separate infantry companies were raised; in the Commandancy General

of Panama, three battalions and twelve separate companies were formed

as specified by the royal order.13 Two battalions and a company

of Cartagena's militia were organized in the city of Cartagena and

its immediate surroundings. Twenty-eight of the governorship's

remaining fifty-seven companies were established in the outlying par-

tido of Lorica, sixteen in the partido of Barranquilla, and thirteen

in the partido of Momp6s. All of the militia for the Commandancy

General of Panama were established in the Governorship of Panama

and its partido of Nata except six companies raised in Portobelo

and on the margins of the Chagres River. Besides the infantry units,

two cavalry companies were formed in the partido of Barranquilla; two

artillery companies were raised in the city of Cartagena, a brigade

12Quijano to Guirior, Panama, November 20, 1773, ANC: MM 90,
fs. 645-662; Commander Josef P4rez Dtvila to Ureta, Cartagena, March,
1774, ANC: MM 88 f. 73.
13Quijano to Guirior, Panama, November 20, 1773, ANC: MM 90,
fs. 645-662.

In Told of the partido of Lorica, and a company each in Portobelo and

Panama, The artillery units were segregated from the regular militia

command and were placed in care of the staff of the Royal Corps of

Artillery14 (see Table 2).

The disciplined militia of New Granada was segregated into two

broad social divisions, .Lanco or white, and those with all or part

Negro parentage. The latter class was subdivided into units composed

of pardos, a collective grouping which included the various categories

of mulattoes, and morenos the offspring of free Negro parents. This

system conformed with provisions made in the Cuban reglamento. How-

ever, New Granada added a new variety, the units of all colors; these

contained a mixture of the various Negro classes and on rare occasions

could contain whites.

For the units comprised of the various Negro groupings, the same

regulations applied except for a few minor details of which differen-

tiation in salaries, the morenos receiving less than pardas, was the

most important. In the period under consideration, the term "pardo"

was frequently employed in a general sense to include all of the

various militia units containing members with all or partial Negro

lineage; for expediency, the term will be so employed in this study

14GAlvez to Flores, Spain, March, 1777, ANC: MM 12, f. 423;
Report on the militia of Cartagena, Governor Juan Pimienta, March 26,
1778, ANC: MM 40, fs. 152-165; Royal order, September 4, 1778, ANC:
MM 9, f. 1061.

15Membership roll of the Company of All Colors of SinG, Lorica,
1780, ANC: MM 21, fs. 373-374; Libretas de servicio . del Rel-
mlento de Infanterfa de Todos Colores . Santa Marta, 1788, ANC:
MMt 97, fs. 79-124.
16Reglamento . Cuba, relaciones 9-11,



Regulars Infantry Artillery Mounted

Two companies of Santa Marta 154
Half company of Santa Marta 25
Regiment of Cartagena 1,358
Royal Corps (two companies of
Cartagena) 200
(company of Panama) 100
Battalion of Panama 679
Detachment of Chagres 29
Company of Guayaquil 100
Three companies of Quito 225
Detachment of Popayan 25
Halberdier Viceregal Guard 75
Cavalry Viceregal Guard __ 25
Totals 2,645 325 75

Total Regulars 3045

Disciplined Militia Infantry Artillery Mounted

Two companies of pardo dragoons,
Riohacha 252
Battalion of whites, Cartagena 800
Battalion of pardos, Cartagena 800
Company of morenos, Cartagena 90
Company of pardos, Cartagena 100
Company of morenos, Cartagena 100
Brigade of pardos, Toli of the partido
of Lorica (Cartagena) 30
Two companies of whites, partido of
Barranquilla (Cartagena) 180
Four companies of pardos, partido of
Barranquilla (Cartagena) 360
Four companies of morenos, partido of
Barranquilla (Cartagena) 360
Six companies of all colors, partido of
Barranquilla (Cartagena) 540
Company of white cavalry, partido of
Barranquilla (Cartagena) 90

TABLE 2 (cont.)

Disciplined Militia Infantry Artillery Mounted

Company of pardo cavalry, partido of
Barranquilla (Cartagena)
Five companies of whites, partido of
Momp6s (Cartagena)
Two companies of pardos, partido of
Momp6s (Cartagena)
Six companies of all colors, partido
of Momp6s (Cartagena)
Nine companies of whites, partido of
Lorica (Cartagena)
Nineteen companies of all colors,
partido of Lorica (Cartagena)
Battalion of whites, partido of Nata
Battalion of pardos, partido of Nata
(Panama) -
Battalion of pardos, Panama
Three companies of whites, Panama
Two companies of morenos, Panama
Company of pardos, Panama
Company of pardos, Panama
Two companies of whites, Portohbelo and
the margins of the Chagres River
Two companies of pardos, Portobelo and
the margins of the Chagres River
Company of pardos, Portobelo
Battalion of whites, Guayaquil
Battalion of pardos, Guayaquil
Regiment of white dragoons, Guayaquil,
twelve companies
Five companies of whites, Guayaquil
Company of pardos, Guayaquil
Company of whites, Guayaquil
Two companies of morenos, Guayaquil
Eleven companies of whites, Popayan
Company of pardos, Popayan
Two companies all colors, Popayin

Total Disciplined Militia 14,592

12,980 580



*The above table was compiled from reports and other correspond-
ence. See Conmander Diego Antonio Nieto to Viceroy Manuel Antonio
Flores, Cartago, ANC: MM 52, fs. 332-348; report on the militia of
Cartagena, Governor Juan Pimienta, Cartagena, March 26, 1778, ANC:
MM 40, fs. 152-165; Estado de fuerza del ei6rcito, Guayaquil, Conmand-
er Victor Salcedo y Somodevilla, October, 1779, ANC: MM 101, fs. 708-
714; rEtado de fuerza del eiercito. Panama, Governor Ramin de Carvajal,
August I, 1781, ANC: MM 103, fs. 500-519; Estado de fuerza del ejer-
cito, Santa Marta and Riohacha, Governor AnLunio de Narvdez y la Torre,
August, 1784, ANC: MM 101, fs. 445-446. Also see ANG: MM 89, f. 547,
MM 90, fs. 600-608, 628-634, 645-662, 1040, MM 95, fs. 155-158, MM 106,
fs. 885-890, MM 109, fs. 171-172, MM 110, fs. 367-375.

unless clarity demands group differentiation. With respect to the

classification "blanco" or white, it cannot be presumed that all

members of the group were of totally white racial stock. By the

late eighteenth century miscegenation was at a relatively advanced

stage, and that classification might be based on other than racial

considerations, such as wealth or cultural habits. Moreover, for

the purpose of the militia, mestizos were considered white.17

As specified by the Cuban reglamento, the structure of command

In disciplined militia units consisted of a delicate balance between

regular and volunteer personnel. At the head of each battalion was

a command and staff group comprised of a colonel, who was a militia

volunteer; a sarnento mayor, who was a veteran plans and training

officer; an ayudante, who was also a veteran and charged with as-

sisting the sargento mayor in conducting his duties; and a group of

non-commissioned officers and other personnel. The veteran positions

of sargento nayor and ayudante were functions, not ranks, and they

were normally performed by men who in the regular army held the of-

fices of lieutenant or first sergeant. At the company level, the

captain was a militia volunteer, but as with the command and staff

group, the second In command, the lieutenant, was a veteran. The

latter function would normally be performed by a man who held the

rank of corporal or cadet in the regular army. In addition, the

militia was provided with a cadre of veteran enlisted mer, who served

as sergeants and corporals in the companies. By this method, the

17Lbid., relaci6n 1; Captain Diego Antonio Nieto to Flores,
Buga, January 13, 1779, ANC: MM 52, fs. 443-444.

crown entrusted command to volunteers, but insured proper discipline

and training by placing veterans where they could enhance quality

service and function as a check on the non-professionals (see Table


The militia colonel's position was considered equal to that of
his counterpart in the regular army. However, in relationships

between the regular army and the militia, he was to obey the orders

of veteran colonels and in effect was regarded as an officer of one

grade less than colonel.20 An illuminating example of this differen-

tiation was a ruling made on burial laws. A deceased militia officer

was entitled to the same honors in his funeral as those granted to

his equivalent in the regular army provided that the rites were

conducted by militiamen. On the other hand, if the ceremonies hap-

pened to be conducted by members of a regular unit the honors were

to be those of one rank lower.21

The colonel's second in command was the veteran sargento mayor,

who to be eligible for appointment must have at one time served in

Spain. Aided by his ayudante he was the most active member of the

command and staff group and was responsible for conducting inspections

and supervising the affairs of the battalion. Should he believe that

his superior the colonel was acting in violation of regulations, it

18Reqlamento . Cuba, chaps. 1-111.

19Royal order, February 13. 1778, ANC: M 100, fs. 165-172.

20Royal order, February 18, 1779, ANC: MM 88, f. 483.

21GSlvez to Flores, Spain, June 12, 1779, ANC: MM 9, fs. 870-



White Infantry Battalion

Sergeants First

Fusileers 2 2 4 6 7

Fusleers 2 4 6 74 90

Fusileers I 2 2 4 6 1 74 0

Fusileers I 1 1 1 2 2 4 6 1 74 90
Fusileers I 1 1 2 2 4 6 1 74 90
10a1 C I 1 1 2 4- 6 a -

Fusileers 1 I 1 1 2 2 4 6 1 74 90

Fusileers I I 1 1 2 2 4 6 1 74 90

Fusileers I I 1 I 2 2 4 6 1 74 90

Totals 9 9 9 9 9

18 18 36 54 9 656 800

Command and Staff Group

1 Colonel
1 Sargento Mayor (Veteran)
1 Ayudante (Veteran)
2 Standard-bearers
I Chaplain

I Surgeon
1 Drum Major (Veteran)
1 Corporal, Gastador
6 Gastadores

TABLE 3 (cont.)

Pardo Infantry Battalion

Companies -

Grenadiers I I
Fusileers I I
Fusileers I I
Fusileers I I
Fusileers I I
Fusileers I I
Fusileers I I
Fusileers I 1
Fusileers 1 I

Totals 9 9 9

a 0

1 I 2 6
I 2 6
I 2 6
1 I 2 6
1 1 2 6
1 I 2 6
I 2 6
I I 2 6
I I 2 6

9 9 18 54

Command and Staff Group

0 E 0 0

6 I 64 80
6 I 74 90
6 I 74 90
6 I 74 90
6 I 74 90
6 I 74 90
6 74 90
6 74 90
6 74 90

54 9 656 800

I Ayudante Mayor, Subinspector
4 Ayudantes
5 Garzones


1 Commandant
2 Standard-bearers
1 Drum Major
1 Corporal, Gastador
6 Gastadores
3 Fifers

TABLE 3 (cant.)

Cavalry Regiment

Second C 2 2 4 50
Fourth 2 2 50

pFifth 1- 2 2 50
__Carabineersxth 1 1 1 1 2 2 44 50
FirSeventh I I 1 2 2 44 50
-Eighth 1 1 1 2 2 44 50
FoNiurth I I 1 2 2 44 50
"Fifth 1 2 2 44 50

Seventh I 2 2 44 50

Tenth I I I I 1 I 2 2 44 50
* Eleventh 1 I I 1 I I 2 2 44 50
Twelfth 1 I1 I 2 2 44 50

Totals 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 26 26 572 650

Cremnand and Staff Croup

1 Colonel 1 Chaplain
1 Lieutenant Colonel 1 Surgeon
1 Sargento Mayor (Veteran) 4 Buglers (Veteran
I Ayudante Mayor (Veteran) or Militia)

TABLE 3 (cont.)

Dragoon Regiment

Sergeants First


Companies a

1 1 1 1 1 2 2 4 6 1 84 loo
I 1 1 I 1 2 2 4 6 1 84 00
1 1 1 I 2 2 4 6 I 84 100

1 1 1 0 2 0 3 3 0 42 50
I I t I a 2 0 3 3 0 42 50

I Ayudante Mayor (Veteran) I Surgeon

2 Standard Bearers



0 0

SCo5raies .

Grenadiers 1 1 3 3 I 54 63
Fusileers I 1 1 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers I 1 1 1 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers I 1 1 1 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers I 1 1 I 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers I 1 1 I 2 4 4 2 64 77
SFusileers 1 I 1 1 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers I I 1 1 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers I I I 1 2 4 4 2 64 77

Grenadiers I 1 1 1 3 3 I 54 63
Fusileers I 1 1 I 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers I 1 1 I 2 4 4 2 64 77
oFusileers I I 1 2 4 4 2 64 77
o Fusileers 1 I I 1 2 4 4 2 64 77
v Fusileers 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers 1 I 1 1 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers I 1 1 2 4 4 2 64 77
Fusileers 1 1 1 1 2 4 4 2 64 77

Totals 18 18 I 18 18 34 70 70 34 1132 1358


TABLE 4 (cont.)

Comnand and Staff Group

First Battalion

1 Colonel
1 Sargento Mayor
I Ayudante Mayor
2 Standard Bearers
1 Chaplain
1 Surgeon
1 Corporal, Gastador
6 Gastadores
I Master Armorer
I Drum Major
2 Fifers

Second Battalion

1 Lieutenant Colonel
1 Ayudante Mayor
2 Flag Bearers
1 Chaplain
1 Surgeon
1 Corporal. Gastadores
6 Gastadores
1 Master Arrorer
2 Fifers

*Adapted from Drdenanzas de S.M. para el regimen, disciplina,
subordinaciSn,. servicio de sus ex-rcitos . (Madrid, 1768).

was his duty to inform the colonel of his error; if need be, he could

appeal to the inspector, but only with the colonel's knowledge. In

this manner, the integrity of the office of colonel was preserved,

although he was prevented from wandering too far astray. A similar

relationship existed between the captains and the veteran lieutenants.22

According to the reglamento and a clarifying order of August 6,

1773, the inspector of militias bore the main responsibility for the

selection of personnel for the veteran positions in the militia and

he also made proposals for the office of colonel. The colonel's chief

appointive duty was suggesting candidates for the office of captain as

well as reviewing recommendations made for the lower company offices by

the senior officers of the unit. In conducting this function the

colonel's prerogatives were also effectively restricted. Unless there

was compelling reason to do otherwise, he was obliged to make his

selections from men of the next volunteer rank, and in doing so, to

consult with the sargento mayor whose opinion he was to include along

with his own report. Moreover, the inspector by his right of review

provided another check. For all offices, recommendations were to

consist of three nominations which were to be passed up the hierarchy

of command, including the cornments from each level, with the process

eventually terminating in Santa Fe or Spain depending on the importance

of the position.23

22Reglamento . Cuba, chaps. 1-111.

23Ibd., chap. VI; Jost Miarfa Zamora y Coronado Compp.),
Biblioteca de leqislacijn ultra-arina en forma de diccionario al-
fabhtico . (Madrid, 1844-46), III, 229.

A large portion of the veteran personnel for New Granada's new

militia was provided directly from Spain including two special com-

manders, Fiix? Martfnez Malo for Panama and Josef Pgrez Dlvila for

Cartagena.24 The two commanders acted as special technical assistants

for the commandant generals and during the formative years of the

militia assumed the roles normally reserved for colonels. They con-

tinued to serve until the militia was properly functioning, at which

time they were replaced by bonafide volunteer colonels. This transi-

tion occurred in Cartagena in 1777, but not until the following decade

in Panama where progress was slower.25 The initial royal Instructions

for the formation of the militia provided that if the number of regulars

from Spain proved insufficient, additional selections should be made

from the veteran units corresponding to the involved areas. Such a

shortage developed in Cartagena which was scheduled to receive three

sargentos mayores, three ayudantes, and eleven lieutenants. The

allotment was too small to begin with, and to aggravate the situation,

only eleven of the regulars had arrived by mid-December. Commandant

General Roque de Quiroga informed Viceroy Guirior who immediately

granted him authorization to initiate nominations from the fixed

regiment's cadets and sergeants.27

24Qulroga to Guirior, Cartagena. June 11, 1773, ANC: MM 87,
fs. 784-795; Quijano to Guirior, Panama, November 20, 1773, ANC:
MM 90, fs. 645-662.

25Royal order, June 17, 1777, ANC: MM 56, fs. 933-937.
26uiroga to Guirior, Cartagena, June 11, 1773, ANC: MM 87,
fs. 784-795.

27Guirior to Quiroga, Santa Fe, January 30, 1774, ANC: MM 56,
fs. 784-787.

For the volunteer officer positions, many candidates were

selected from the original militia which had been dissolved with

the inauguration of the new system; others were recruited from the

community at large.28 In all cases, special care was to be directed

toward selecting men of the best social standing in the community.

men who could maintain a prestigious position worthy of officership.29

During the formative period, nominations for these positions normally

would have originated from the special commanders acting as colonels;

however, Divila and Martfnez Halo did not arrive from Spain until

late in the year, and as a consequence, the commandant generals

functioning as Inspectors made the selections themselves.30 This

practice led to a dispute between newly appointed sargento mayor

Nicolas Palazuelos, who vas a recent arrival from Spain, and the com-

mandant general of Panama, Nicolfs Quijano. Palazuelos contended

that in the absence of a functioning colonel he as this officer's

consultant for formulating appointments ought to exercise the pre-

rogative of making the initial selections. Conversely, Quijano

claimed that under the special conditions created by the reorganiza-

tion's Initial problems, and due to his special orders, It was his

position to initiate appointments. The controversy was taken to

28Quijano to Guirior, Panama, October 8, 1773, ANC: MM 98,
fs. 534-542.
29Reqlamento . Cuba, chap VI, art. 2.

30Quljano to Guirlor, Panama, October 8, 1773, ANC: MM 98,
fs. 534-542; Dtvlla to Guirior, Cartagena, December 9, 1773, ANC:
MM 56, fs. 794-801.

Viceroy Guirlor who upheld the commandant general.31 However, once

the special commanders arrived from Spain, they exercised power in

filling the remainder of the volunteer company positions.32

The enlistment of soldiers for the militia was initiated shortly

after the commandant generals received their royal orders of February

and March. The Real declaraci6n for the militia of Spain contained

an elaborate classification system by which potential recruits were

to be categorized into five groupings according to the severity of

hardship their possible absence would cause to their families and

other dependents. Under this scheme, first single men and widowers

without children would be subject to selection by lottery, then

married men without children, and so on down the list until the levy

would be filled, with those supporting children the last to be called.

In addition, a wide range of exemptions was granted for those hold-

ing critically important civilian positions, lest in time of mobiliza-

tion they be removed from their communities.33 Presumably because of

a smaller pool of available manpower, the enlistment practices out-

lined in the Cuban reglamento employed in New Granada were less

discriminatory.34 Nothing was said about classification on a hard-

ship basis which presumably made all in non-vital occupations equally

liable if they were between the prescribed ages of 15 and 45; the only

31Guirlor to Quljano, Santa Fe, ANC: MM 98, fs. 533.

32Officer proposals, militia of Cartagena, April, 1774, ANC:
MM 30, fs. 963-964.

33Real declaracln . tits. 11-111.

34ealamnnto . Cuba, chap. II, arts. 25-32.

specification was that recruitment lists should indicate whether or

not a man was married.35 A subsequent royal order issued in 1779

did exempt the only sons of widows.36 Occupational exemptions were

granted to members of the clergy, medical personnel, school teachers,

certain types of students, lawyers, scribes, notaries, tax collectors,

and a number of other public functionaries. In 1779 this list was

extended to include the maritime merchant class.37

There was little official commentary about the way recruitment

was actually practiced in New Granada. It appears that if the lists

indicated that there were enough useful men in a community to sup-

port a company, they were enlisted. In such a process it is un-

likely that fine distinctions such as having dependents would have

made a great deal of difference. Indeed, the company membership

rolls available for analysis reveal that a large share of the enlisted

men were at least married, although it is impossible to determine the

total number of dependents.39 Juan Pimienta, governor and commandant

general of Cartagena, complained in a 1778 report on the militia that

in the localities supporting companies almost all of the men between

the ages of 15 and 45 were enlisted, and that many of them were

351bUd., chap. I, art. 9, and relaci6n 1.

36Royal order, February 18, 1779, ANC: MM 12, fs. 340-353.

37Royal order, June 18, 1779, ANC: MM 71, fs. 532-534.

38Orders for the formation of recruitment lists were sent to
the commandant generals prior to the initiation of the actual reform.
Quiroga to Guirior, Cartagena, June II, 1773, ANC: MM 87, fs. 784-
39Lorica, 1780, ANC: IM 21, fs. 273-280.

fathers. He feared that if it became necessary to place the units

on active duty, their communities would suffer great hardship.40

Nevertheless, in spite of what seem to have been undiscriminatory

recruitment practices, many units, especially in Panama, had

constant problems in maintaining their full quotas; within several

years of their creation two companies from the Portobelo region

completely disintegrated, and several others were dangerously close

to doing likewise.41

Indians, legally perpetual minors, were not permitted to serve

in the militia. The question arose in New Granada when Pmrez Dtvila,

Cartagena's special commander, enlisted Indians in Turbaco. He based

his action on a special provision in the Cuban reglamento which al-

lowed the enlistment of Indians to complete the white battalions of

Cuba and Bayamo. Upon receiving word of this development, Commandant

General Roque de Quiroga became concerned for he suspected that such

recruitment was inconsistent with "the privileges and exemptions

conceded to this group of people." Finding nothing in the regula-

tions specifically prohibiting the practice, but believing the Cuban

example to be an exception due to extenuating local circumstances

rather than a precedent, he asked Viceroy Manuel Guirior for a ruling.

Guirlor replied confirming his suspicious; Indians indeed were not

liable for military service. The viceroy then ordered the immediate

40ANC: MM 40, fs. 152-165.

41Estado de fuerza del ei4rcito, Panama, Governor Ram6n de
Carvajal, August 1, 1781, ANC: MM 103, fs. 500-519.

termination of their enlistment.42 Guirior's ruling was consistent

with policy followed in New Spain where likewise Indians were not

permitted to enter the military.43

Drills were initiated for most of the militia between December

1, 1773, and January 1, 1774.44 Although initially conducted on a

more frequent basis, exercises were to be held once a week with the

selection of the day dependent upon the choice of the individual

units. The practice site was normally the local community, even for

the companies attached to battalions. This was necessary because

of their wide dispersal. For example, only six companies of the white

battalion of Cartagena were from the city itself; two of the remaining

companies were from Turbaco and Arjona both some 47 leagues from the

capital city, the other from Barranquilla and Soledad some 30 leagues

The responsibility for supervising the militia training program

rested with the command and staff groups. In addition to three of

the battalions, each of the three partidos of Cartagena sponsoring

militia also had a command and staff group to manage that duty.47

42kuiroga to Guirior and reply, 1774, ANC: MM 88, fs. 1-4.

43KcAlister, The "Fuero Militar" . p. 2.
44Quijano to Guirior, Panama, November 20, 1773, ANC: MM 90,
fs. 645-662; Quiroga to Guirior, Cartagena, December 26, 1773, ANC:
MM 57, fs. 482-490.
45Reqlamento . Cuba, chap. Ill.

46Report on the militia of Cartagena, Pimienta, March 26, 1778,
ANC: MM 40, fs. 152-165.


However, the immediate burden of forging suitable soldiers out of the

volunteers rested with the veteran sergeants and corporals. They

were obliged to reside in the communities supporting their units and

be constantly available in the event their services might be required. 4

Once a month the weekly practice became a special exercise which all

of the company officers were bound to attend; they were also encouraged

to participate in as many of the regular weekly training sessions as

possible. The veteran members of the command and staff groups were

expected to at least assist at firing practice which was a bimonthly

session. For the colonel, attendance was not obligatory. Enlisted

men were required to participate in all exercises unless granted

previous permission for absence because of a legitimate excuse. This

training program, if conducted as prescribed, would be a great

Improvement over the former practices.

Over half of the disciplined militia of Panama and Cartagena was

of the pardo category. This included three battalions, one from Carta-

gena and two from Panama, as well as fifty-four of the separate companies.

Because of their lower station in life, pardos were considered less

virtuous and less reliable than their white counterparts. The most

noteworthy consequence of this assumption was the limitation of the

authority delegated to pardos in the system of command. Their bat-

talions were equipped with a dual command and staff group, Including

one of white regulars, the other of volunteer men of color, which was

an extension of unit segregation. The head of the pardo section was

entitled the "commandant." He was assisted by standard-bearers, a

48Relamento . Cuba, chap. 11, arts. 15, 17.

drum major, and a number of non-commissioned personnel. The white

command and staff group was headed by a subinspector who held the

militia post of ayudante mayor. He was accompanied by four men of

the militia position of lieutenant who served as ayudantes. Since

the militia operated on a segregated basis, no veteran personnel

were integrated into the company ranks; rather, a number of pardo

officers were maintained on salary. In addition, the white staff

and command group contained a large number of non-commissioned of-

ficers, oarzones, available for the necessary technical advice. In

contrast to pardo units, those with the all-color designation operated

with only a white command and staff group in the same manner as the

white units.

In pardo units the designation of commander for the colored

chief was more pretense than reality. Supreme authority rested with

the subinspector who was responsible for supervising the training,

discipline, and general conduct of the battalion. In performing these

comprehensive duties, he was to be obeyed by all, including the pardo

commander. However, the subinspector was cautioned by the reglamento

that this officer was to be considered of the same authority as other

heads of battalions. Moreover, the commander had the power to arrest

any battalion soldier or officer who did not comply with his commands.

Here the precise lines of authority are very nebulous. It is in-

conceivable that the commander would have dared to arrest a subinspector,

or for that matter, any other white official. In any event it would

have taken an extremely creative mind to have produced such a con-

frontation because the supreme duties of subinspection, the key

loophole, were so broadly defined. Moreover, since the remainder of

the white officers and non-commissioned personnel were specifically

labelled by regulations as the subinspector's assistants for the

conduct of his duty, they also for all practical purposes would be

beyond the reach of pardo authority. In effect, the pardo commander

was commander of pardos, and no more.

In 1779 a serious dispute arose in Panama which reveals much

concerning the relationship between pardo and white officers.50 The

issue was a matter of etiquette: when, and for what duration, pardo

officers were to remove their hats in the presence of white officers.

Although this issue may seem absurd today, it was anything but that

at the time. The parties involved were unable to reach an agreement

and the matter ultimately had to be taken to the viceroy for a

decision. Unfortunately, the superior ruling, if ever made, has not

been uncovered.1 Nevertheless, the range of discussion in this dis-

agreement is most informative and clarifies much of what in fact was

the position of pardos in the militia.

The subject had originally been raised by special.Comeander

FliIx Martfnez Malo shortly after the pardo units were organized.

491jid., chap. I, art. 13; chap. II, arts. 13, 22, 34; chap.
IV, art. 13.

50Exoediente formado por aueia del comandante de militias contra
el teniente del Rey de esta plaza. 1779, ANC: MM 40, fs. 669-687.

511t is possible that a superior ruling was never made. Flores
left Santa Fe to assume command in Cartagena when war broke out that
year. This transfer was soon followed by the Comunero Rebellion and
then a rapid turnover of viceroys in 1782; hence, it is not unlikely
that the issue simply became lost.

In consultations with both Viceroy Guirior and Colonel Josef Bernet

of the Fixed Regiment of Cartagena, who had previously served as

sargento mayor during the formation of the disciplined militia of

Cuba, he inquired whether pardos in conformity with their inferior

birthright should be obliged to remove their hats in the presence

of white officers, as must white enlisted men, even though these

men of color held positions as officers in the militia. Both

authorities answered in the affirmative. Guirior's ruling, which

also placed certain limitations on the decorative aspects of pardo

uniforms, received crown approval.52 Colonel Bernet elaborated:

If there was a pardo or moreno in Havana who dared behave dis-
respectfully to an officer (white) he would be made to ride a
rail, and . during a grave dispute between the corr-ander
of morenos, Vicente Martfnez, and his subinspector, the former
quarreling with the subinspector, he was thrown into a dungeon
in irons, and after a detention of two months he was inforned
that if he did not restrain himself, and respect his superiors,
he would be discharged from his office and would be sent off to
Royal Labors.

The resurrection of the question in 1779 followed a series of

complaints by the pardo officers from the battalion of Panama. They

protested that white officers, out of malice and desire for amusement,

had begun approaching them without cause merely to force the removal

of their hats; these affairs sometimes endured in excess of a half an

hour. Moreover, some pardos charged that for alleged want of punctual-

ity in complying with this courtesy, they had been arrested and

maltreated by word. Knowledge of these abuses reached the governor's

office at a time when Commandant General Ram&n de Carvajal was

52Julidn de Arriaga to Guirior, Spain, October 21, 1775, ANC:
MM 92, fs. 197-201.

seriously ill. Jost Pgrez DOvlla, promoted in 1777 from his position

with Cartagena's militia to lieutenant governor (teniente del Rey) of

Panama, was acting governor.

DSvila responded to the pardo complaint by issuing an order

stipulating that white officers should approach pardos only in the

line of duty, and that, when doing so, they must confine the subject

of conversation to the business at hand. Moreover, to limit possible

contacts, he specified that pardo officers should receive ti-eir

instructions from white officers only through their cc-mander. When

legitimate contact did occur, pardo officers were to remain with hat

in hand. However, if at the time they happened to be discharging

duties with their unit, they could immediately; replace their hats,

continuing with their work. If by chance white and pardo officers

should meet on the street, or under similar conditions, the pardos

were to greet the whites first, but the white officers were then to

return the greeting with equal courtesy (con la misna ae-citM y

palftica). DSvila's measures might have passed without incident had

not the pardos concluded that the ruling freed them front the duty of

removing their hats when not specifically discussing militia affairs.

Smith this development the white officers believed their honor and

prestige to be threatened by what seemed to them an obvious breach,

not only of military etiquette, but of the very laws of hierarchy.

Jost de Matos, subinspector of the pardo battalion, immediately

filed a vigorous complaint which he sent to Militia Cor mander Martfnez

Halo. Martfnez in turn sent a strongly worded protest, accompanied

by Matos' petition, to Governor Carvajal asking for a nullification

of Dtvila's order. MartTez was incensed with the stipulations

that pardo officers could under some circumstances replace their

hats in the presence of White officers, and that, in exchanging

greetings, the whites were obliged to demonstrate equal courtesy.

The former ruling, he claimed, was

violating the natural mrder of mankind and fomenting the unjust
pretensions of the pardas who aspire to leave the condition of
their birth to which trey should be subject. Subordination,
courtesy, and respect are the fundamental bases within which the
good order of these rnlitias must be preserved to prevent the
pardos from becoming ITpudent with their respective superiors.
which defect has been experienced on various occasions because
of a lack of correctir m that would have taught them the dif-
ference that exists er-ween peoples.

With regard to the latter ruling, Martfnez claimed that there was

no law in the realm, in military regulations, or in the reglamento

making obligatory the exhibItion of courtesy toward pardos, although

doing so was a matter of good breeding. He added that there was a

great deal of difference inn quality between the soldiers of the

regular anny and pardo officers, but the regulations contained no

mention that regular officers need return courtesies to the

veteran soldiers. Yet, aider Divila's ruling white officers were

obliged to return a mandalmry greeting to mere pardos.

Katos in his petiti ra singled out an inconsistency in military

policy resulting from )Svilla's ruling. As ratters stood, In the

event of a shortage of alydantes, the garzones of the white command

and staff group were to assume the former's responsibilities, which

placed them in a position to render orders to the pardo officers,

However, militia garzones as non-commissioned personnel were obliged

to remove their hats in ithe presence of officers. Yet now, with the

latest ruling by DKvila, men to whom they could give orders were

granted greater liberties with their hats than were they themselves,

the garzones.

To these entreaties, Governor Carvajal replied that he was too

ill to conduct the investigation which would be necessary before he

could issue a judgment; in the meantime, DOvila's order stood unless

specifically contradicting a previous superior ruling. Shortly there-

after, DSvila presented his case to the governor. He pointed out that

his action was based on precedents established in Cartagena where un-

necessary friction was avoided by simply forbidding white officers

from "fraternizing" with the pardos. Preventing discord, he maintained,

was in the best interest of royal service, especially because the empire

was at war. Davila then asked Carvajal to refer the question to the

viceroy which the governor did.

For general policy, it made little difference what the viceroy's

ruling might have been; the differences of opinion were essentially

over details. It occurred to no one, for example, to suggest that

white enlisted men remove their hats for pardo officers. All parties

concerned, unless possibly some pardos, agreed that under at least

some conditions officers of color by penalty of their undistinguished

birth ought to stand before white officers with hats removed. D5vila's

rulings certainly were not intended to promote a social revolution, but

rather; simply intended to prevent unnecessary humiliation for a class

of men who at least in number bore a large share of the isthmus' defense

responsibilities. To this end he attempted to remove all possible

temptations from the white officers, but in doing so perhaps went

farther than the viceregency would have wished. Moreover, in Panama

and presumably in Cartagena it was customary for the commander of

militia to deal solely with the white command and staff group and

therefore completely bypass the pardo staff members, reducing them

in consequence to mere errand boys for their white counterparts.

Pardo officership appears to have been of meaningful consequences

only within the pardo group itself.

Prior to Spain's entry into the War of American Independence

in 1779, the extent of the reform in the Comnandancy Generals of

Cartagena and Panama remained confined to the provinces specifically

singled out in the royal instructions. An exception to this

generalization was the organization of two companies of dragoons

in the province of Rlohacha which, however, is part of another story

related later in this study. This left the provinces of Veragua and

Santa Marta momentarily without disciplined militia, while the regime

in Santa Fe set about expanding the reform into the provinces of Gua-

yaquil and Popayin, both of which possessed disciplined militia before

the outbreak of the war. It would seem to have been more logical for

the government to have pressed for expansion of the reform into the

two remaining important Caribbean provinces, rather than to extend

it to the back country, particularly to Popayin in the interior; but,

the province of Santa Marta was embroiled in a major Indian war, dis-

rupting any hopes of gaining the time necessary to establish

disciplined militia, while Veragua lost its chance due to an

administrative snarl resulting in an extensive delay.

The failure of Veragua to produce disciplined militia is

important not only because It represented a momentary check on the

progress of the reform, but also because the entanglement which

produced the delay elucidates the institutional structure of the

Comnandancy General of Panama. The dilemma began in September, 1773,

at which time Cormandant General Quijano in reporting on the progress

of the reform mentioned for the viceroy's consideration the possibility

of organizing disciplined militia in the governorship of Veragua,

where In addition to an ample supply of manpower, there were some 525

available firearms.53 Viceroy Guirior's response was highly enthusi-

astic. He soon sent orders to both the commandant general and to the

governor of Veragua expressing his desire to proceed. He instructed

Quijano to select a capable officer, to place him temporarily in

command of the project, and to send him to Veragua. In the meantime,

he should Initiate formal appointment procedures by sending a report

on his candidate to Santa Fe. He was also ordered to appoint some

corporals from the fixed battalion to assist with the project. The

governor of Veragua, FMlix Francisco Bexarano, was asked to extend

full cooperation to the officer being sent from Panama.

Bexarano, who had been governor for twenty years and was a long-

time advocate of a strong militia, Immediately began work on the

project. He welcomed the viceroy's decision because of a profound

fear he had developed of the Mosquito Indians, a tribe which prompted

by British Interlopers conducted periodic raids in his province from

53Expediente sobre la Insubordlnacl6n del qobernador de Veraqua,
1773-75, ANC: mm 16, fs. 949-971, MM 77, fs. 653-655, 847-850, 973-
979, and MM 92, fs. 882-883,

the adjoining Captaincy General of Guatemala. Commandant General

Quijano, however, soon had serious misgivings about the project due

to Information brought to his attention by an aide who had been ill

when the plan was originally conceived. This man pointed out that

In 1768, during the early planning stage of the militia reform,

Veraguals potential was Incldied in a survey report sent to Spain;

but, the crown excluded the province from its reform plans with the

given reason being that funds were too limited to organize a large

militia, and that If too many battalions were formed it would create

an Imbalance in the proper ratio between regular and militia units.

How fearful that the planned program in Veragua might be a violation

of the royal will, Quljano notified the viceroy of the new informa-

tion which had come to his attention and announced that he was delay-

ing further action until he had received a reconfirmation of his

instructions. Guirlor decided to go ahead anyway and in September,

1774, while answering Governor Bexarano's first progress report, which

had been sent to him directly rather than through Panama, authorized

the governor to communicate with the commandant general asking him

for the needed veteran persomr-el. This Bexarano did not do, but

Instead proceeded on his own.

Meanwhile, NicolIs Quijano was replaced by Pedro Carbonell who

did not receive word of what wos happening in his dependent province

until July, 1775. To make ratters worse, he did not obtain this

Information through offlclal channels. The new commandant general

immediately wrote to Baxarano demanding to know upon what authority

he was acting, and pointed out that the royal orders for the formation

of militia said nothing about organizing units in Veragua. Obviously

resenting his military dependence on Panama, Governor Bexarano, who

appears to have been an independent, vitriolic sort of individual,

replied in a curt fashion including with his communication the vice-

regal letters. He informed Carbonell that he had already formed a

battalion of whites as well as four separate pardo companies, and

that he had every intention of further expanding his efforts as soon

as weather would permit. Flatly stating that due to the Mosquito-

English menace his region was more critically in need of disciplined

militia than any other province, he announced that his program was

to form as many units as possible. Moreover, he declared that not

to form disciplined militia in view of Veragua's defense problems

would be a disservice to the king, against royal intentions, and a

grave injustice to the province's inhabitants, as he well knew from

his long years of experience.

Needless to say, Carbonell was taken aack by the whole affair,

for it seemed evident to him that his prerogatives as commandant

general had been seriously violated. He refused to send the needed

corporals on the grounds that he had none to spare, but was careful

to point out that had Bexarano originally informed him of the vice-

roy's intentions, as he should have, things might have been different.

Moreover, he ordered the suspension of further expansion endeavors

until he would have an opportunity to review the situation. Last,

Carbonell took issue with the contention that the Mosquito Indians

were a serious threat, pointing out that in the past six years the

Panama office had been informed of only one incursion. He added

that if what he, Bexarano, had said was true, the incidents should

have been reported.

At this point the breach between the two officials still might

have been healed by an apologetic letter from Governor Bexarano;

however, such a response was not forthcoming. Bexarano answered his

superior with one of the harshest communications produced during the

era of the reform. In this reply the governor made a wide range of

insulting allegations: he charged that the danger of the Mosquito

Indians was common knowledge, and indeed was able to produce several

royal orders demonstrating that the crown had been concerned about

the problem for some time; he intimated that the reorganization in

Panama had been grossly mismanaged; he contended that such a large

number of units was not necessary there, especially since Panama was

the place in the isthmus in which they were least needed; and he

claimed, and quite correctly, that most of Panama's units were far

understrength and that by merely combining some of them the com-

mandant general would have enough veteran officers left over for Vera-

gua. The deepest cut of all was a threat consisting of a blunt state-

ment that he had other objections to Carbonell's work, but that they

were reserved for a report to the crown of whose sympathy he was

certain due to his many years of service In the region; this was in

addition to a report he was sending to the viceroy which would also

Include the present communication.

That was more than Commandant General Carbonell, whose authority

at this point was clearly under attack, could take. Not panicked by

Bexarano's attempt at blackmail, he took decisive action. For the

record, he first replied to Bexarano that he was out of line, and

that corrective measures would be required if he did not immediately

mend his ways. Then, he sent complete records of the dispute to

Viceroy Guirior. In his accompanying report he emphasized to the

viceroy that he had suffered a serious affront to his position as

commandant general of Panama and asked the viceroy to correct the

governor's Insolence. Moreover, he re-emphasized his contention

that disciplined militia in Veragua were not a necessity and insisted

that he did not have sufficient veteran personnel at his disposal to

staff such militia. His recommendation was that Bexarano's units

merely be maintained on a pre-reform basis.

In his decision, December 15, 1775, Viceroy Guirior upheld the

commandant general's position, sternly rebuked Governor Bexarano, but

said little specifically about terminating the project in question.

Probably, he would have preferred to have gone ahead with his aspira-

tions for the establishment of disciplined militia in Veragua, but for

the time being had little choice. The matter had become a contest of

will between the two governors, and if the position of commandant

general was to be meaningful, Carbonell would have to be backed.

Actually, it was not so much what Bexarano had said, as most of it was

true, but how he said It. He had displayed no respect for the position

of his superior, and he had degraded him in word by impudent statements

and In deed by bypassing him as he saw fit without regard for the

established chain of military hierarchy. Thus, according to Carbonell's

wishes, the Veraguan militia remained on a non-disciplined basis. As

for Bexarano, being duly humiliated he complied in future dealings

with the established chain of command. He benefited thereby, for

Carbonell softened and found some expendable veterans after all.54

In consequence to this series of events, the sphere of disciplined

militia in the Commandancy General of Panama remained restricted

for the sake of harmony to the provinces of Portobelo and Panama

until the following decade. For, although the new units in Veragua

did by and large meet the criteria for disciplined militia, they

technically were not classified in that category.

54Carbonell to Flores, Panama, December 12, 1776, ANC: MM 75,
fs. 710-714.



After the conclusion of the initial reorganization in Panama and

Cartagena, the military reform was extended to the province of Guaya-

qull, and shortly thereafter to Popaydn. Conducted with an almost

total absence of direct royal assistance, this step marked the ini-

tiation of a severe modification of militia policy at the hands of

Viceroys Manuel Guirior, 1772-76, and Jos4 Antonio Flores, 1776-82.

The changes effectuated were born out of necessity because, at least

for the immediate future, specified militia regulations were in

several important respects unworkable on a broad scope in New Granada.

Both Guirior and Flores were leaders whose aspirations for the rapid

expansion of the reform throughout the viceroyalty were more ambitious

than those of the crown. They boldly pushed ahead, scored major ac-

complishments, but failed to fully realize their aspirations.

With the viceroyalty left to its own resources, the key

problems in following the letter of the law stemmed from an inability

to provfd the specified veteran components for the militia. The

veteran cadre of an Infantry battalion required eighteen corporals,

nine first sergeants, and nine lieutenants, personnel which in the

cases of Cartagena and Panama were drawn from veteran sergeants,

corporals and enlisted men. In addition, two men of the veteran

officer category, or at least the rank of first sergeant, were


required for each battalion's command and staff group. To the regular

army units, the provision of such veteran cadres meant a manpower loss

of almost a half company per each militia battalion formed. Consider-

ing that a difficult time was had by all concerned in maintaining the

fixed units near their full allotted strength, this was a severe man-

power drain, especially since it meant the loss to regular service of

the army's best men. If the various provinces of New Granada were to

each establish several battalions of disciplined militia in rapid suc-

cession, the veteran unit would soon be totally depleted.

The corollary to this problem was rising costs to the extent that

the veteran personnel assigned to militia units was replaced in the regu-

lar army. On a unit basis, the cost of supporting the salaried personnel

of one white battalion maintained at proper veteran advisory strength

would come to 11,952 pesos a year.1 In practice, the payroll of Carta-

gena's disciplined militia presented an annual expense of roughly 51,000

pesos. Moreover, units were supposed to be uniformed and armed.2

While the responsibility for providing uniforms rested with the local

communities, the royal treasury was to defray the cost of arms and

the payroll. However, always a poor source of royal revenue, New

Granada at this time found the treasury especially depleted because

of the huge expenditures currently being lavished upon the new dike

under construction in Cartagena's bay. The impact of this burden was

harshly felt In the poverty-stricken Presidency of Quito where a large

IReqlamento . Cuba, releci6n 8.

2Report on the militia of Cartagena, Governor Juan Pimienta,
March 26, 1778, ANC: M 40 fs. 152-165.

share of the revenue collections was especially earmarked for sustain-

ing this construction. The outflow of currency surpassed 700,000 pesos

during the eleven-year administration of President Josd Diguja and

topped the 1,000,000 mark for the four-year rule of the vigorous tax

collector, Josd Garcfa de Le6n y Pizarro. The Governorship of Popa-

yin was also among those included for the provision of the special

funds.1 Under these conditions, if the reform was to be expanded, as

Guirior believed it must, either major assistance had to be rendered

directly from Spain, new revenues devised, or important modifications

would be required in the structure of newly planned units. Since the

former was not forthcoming and revenue reform just beginning, Guirior,

who abided by the rule in his work in Panama and Cartagena, had

little choice but to strike out on his own, to formulate policy which

would be workable in New Granada.

After Cartagena and Panama, the province of Guayaquil, whose

city of the same name was the most important Pacific port of the

viceroyalty, was the next logical objective for the reform. Guirior

solicited approval from the crown for the raising of disciplined

militia in that locality on May 15, 1774, and was granted this

authorization on August 26.5 Prior to this time, the viceroy had

ordered Governor Francisco de Ugarte to formulate lists of potential

3Gonzdlez Suirez, V. 295.

4Flores to the royal officials of Popaydn, Santa Fe, October 2,
1776, ACC: Colonia, MI 1, sig. 5493.
5Arriaga to Guirior, Spain, August 26, 1774, ANC: Mi 97, fs.
807-808; Guirior to Julign de Arriaga, Santa Fe, December 15, 1775,
ANC: MM 10, fs. 812-820.


recruits. On March 17, 1775, Guirior commissioned Captain Vfctor

Salcedo y Somodevilla of Guayaquil's fixed company to function as

special commander in the raising of the province's planned dis-

ciplined militia. Salcedo's dual function, at one time acting

as both captain of the regular company and commander of militia,

was both an innovation and an economization of personnel, distinct

from practice both in Cartagena and Panama where the special command-

ers sent from Spain were employed solely in militia duty.

The sharpest policy break came In the provision of the new

militia's contingent of veteran advisors. Guirior limited this

cadre to only a first sergeant, who was a former member of the Regiment

of Murcia and who acted as ayudante, and to two corporals selected

from the veteran garrison of Panama. Guirior had wanted an officer

Instead of a sergeant, but in response to his request the governor

of Panama stated that compliance was Impossible because his battalion

was already five lieutenants short, and that his second lieutenants

were for the most part too inexperienced or otherwise unsuited for

the task at hand. This allotment was radically below specifications,

6Expediente de quelas del gobernador de Guavaquil de las facul-
tades Que se han conferidQ con periuicio suio, 1774-75, ANC: MM 108,
fs. 727-746.

7ANC: MM 100, fs. 187-193.

8Guirior to Arriaga, Santa Fe, December 15, 1775, ANC: MM 10,
fs. 812-820. All things equal, it would have been more feasible to
have selected these men from the fixed regiment of Cartagena since it
was larger; however, at this time the fixed unit's services were
actively engaged in an Indian war in Rlohacha (see chapter V).

9July 10, 1774, ANC: MM 74, fs. 18-19.

especially since two infantry battalions, one of whites and the other

of pardos, a regiment of dragoons, and three artillery companies were

raised.10 The plan was to employ the regulars for intensive instruction

of volunteer officers, so that they would become capable of imparting

suitable training to their troops, while the veterans would continue

to serve in a general advisory capacity as personal assistants to

Commander Salcedo y Somodevilla.11

The third innovation was in uniforming the new units. Monetary

expenditure was eliminated by conferring the rank of captain only on

those volunteers who would in advance agree to provide their companies

with uniforms at their own expense.12 This violated the reglamento

which specified that appointments to officership should be granted

without charge, and that they should be made only on an interim basis

until the crown could give its final approval.-3 Under these circum-

stances the crown's freedom of action was somewhat impaired by obliga-

tion to those who provided uniforms. Although the appointments could

still have been rejected, no vassals are on record as having lost

their investments. From a practical point of view, this method, or

something similar to it, was probably the only possible system of

providing uniforms for the militia of Guayaquil. Moreover, there

I0After the initial reorganization six more infantry companies
were raised (see Table 2).

11Salcedo y Somodevilla to Guirior, Guayaquil, June 2, 1775,
ANC: MM 51, fs. 55-56; Guirior to Arriaga, Santa Fe, December 15,
1775, ANC: MM 10, fs. 812-820.
12Salcedo y Somodevilla to Guirior, Guayaquil, June 2, 1775,
ANC: MM 51, fs. 55-56.

13Relamento Cuba, chap. II, art. 1; chap. VI, arts. 8-9.

proved to be an ample number of citizens who were willing to follow
this route to the prestige of officership. However, many of those

committed to providing uniforms failed to honor their promises, leaving

by 1780 only twelve companies fully clothed in the proper fashion.15

In its subtler aspect, this policy created an opportunity for advance-

ment for those of the community who were not among the most distinguished

families in terms of lineage but who were of financial means, although

Viceroy Guirior testified that only men otherwise qualified were

appointed.16 Actually, most of the volunteer officer positions were

obtained by men who had served in the previous militia units now

disbanded with the reform.17 With regard to firearms, there was a

considerable number already in Guayaquil, although not enough for

all of the militia at this time.

Administratively, Viceroy Guirior's actions were a bold stroke

conducted in open violation of the expressed royal will. Wisely, he

did not Inform the crown of his practices until after the militia

had already been organized. This was done in a communication of

December 15, 1775, in which he justified each of his departures from

1lGuirior to Arriaga, Santa Fe, December 15, 1775, ANC: MM 10,
fs. 812-820.
15Salcedo y Somodevilla to Flores, Guayaquil, January 7, 1780,
ANC: MK 108, fs. 653-669.

16Guirior to Arriaga, Santa Fe, December 15, 1775, ANC: MM 10,
fs. 812-820.

17Salcedo y Somodevilla to Guirior, Guayaquil., October 5, 1775,
ANC: MM 107, fs. 742-743.

18G1lvez to Flores, Spain, March 17, 1776, ANC: MM 106, fs.

official policy, asked for royal approval, and in the case of the ab-

breviated veteran cadre, openly expressed his belief that the group

he had selected was adequate for the task. The crown replied on

November 18, 1776, expressing displeasure at the inadequacy of the

veteran contingent, but did not present any solution to the problem

of where to recruit, or how to finance the required officers and en-

listed men. Instead, a re-evaluation of the militia membership it-

self was suggested with the stipulation that it would be better to

maintain fewer units well trained rather than a large but poorly

disciplined militia. In essence, the crown was returning to its

original posture of limiting substantial implementation of the reform

to Cartagena and Panama. Nevertheless, Guirior achieved an important

victory, for the crown specified that the militia should remain as

it was while the possibility of reducing the number of units was

under consideration. And, although a decision was eventually made,

It came during wartime with the militia remaining at an inflated

size. Apparently, wishing to leave well enough alone,20 the crown

said nothing about the method employed in providing uniforms. The

essence of what occurred in Guayaquil was that for the time being

the viceregency moved out from under the direct hand of the crown in

determining militia policy. In subsequent endeavors, Guirfor and

his successors largely ignored Spain's displeasure and continued the

reform under the new guidelines. The crown, if truly displeased, did

19ANC: MM 10, fs. 812-820.

20ANC: MM 110, fs. 745-747.

not act decisively to halt the trend until the last decade of the


Commander Vfctor Salcedo y Somodevilla functioned in much the

same way as had his counterparts in Cartagena and Panama, although

under extreme harassment from Francisco de Ugarte, the province's

governor. Ugarte, described by Ecuadorian historian Abel-Romeo

Castillo as "brusk, violent, and despotic," was not a popular figure

in his province and was party to an intense factionalism among the

local dignataries. Prior to Salcedo's arrival he counted among his

enemies three members of the military: engineer Francisco Requena,

Captain of the Fixed Company Francisco G6mez Mir6, and Lieutenant

Rulz Romero. Upon the captain's death, the governor attempted to

undercut this faction of his opposition by opposing the promotion

of Lieutenant Romero who was next in line for the captain's position.

He appealed to Guirior for the appointment of an outsider and the

viceroy complied with his wishes.21 Salcedo was selected for the

position from the staff of Cartagena. However, this appointment

developed into more than Ugarte had bargained for; not only did

the newcomer assume the captainship, but shortly after his arrival

in Guayaquil obtained appointment to the special commandership for

the organization of the new militia as well. The governor had as-

sumed that he, the holder of a colonel's commission in the regular

army, would be personally entrusted with the reorganization.

21Castillo, pp. 153-155-

The appointment of Salcedo as commander of militia was by all

Indications an afterthought on the part of Guirior wto had originally

Intended to permit the governor to assume direct responsibility. But

the viceroy became dissatisfied with Ugarte's slow rate of progress,

which he attributed to the governor's other extensive duties, and in

consequence decided to delegate the burden to the captain.22 Probably,

he was also aware that Ugarte was old and in bad health. Salcedo, for

his part, was an energetic, fast-rising young officer who had the ad-

ditional qualification of having witnessed the implementation of the

reform In Cartagena.23 He began his military career as a cadet in

the Regiment of Savoy, secured appointment as second lieutenant three

years later, and was promoted to lieutenant upon his incorporation

Into the fixed regiment, May, 1773. He was only twenty-two years of

age when appointed by Guirior to the captainship of the company of

Guayaquil in late 1774.24

Ugarte was dismayed to discover that he had been denied first-

hand participation in the conduct of the reform, although he was

empowered to act in the higher capacity of inspector. Salcedo ag-

gravated this resentment by working independently of the unpleasant

governor wherever possible, a snub which led him to believe that his

22Ugarte to Guirior, Guayaqull, July 19, 1775, AMC: MM 110,
fs. 353-362.

23Guirior to Arriaga, Santa Fe, December 15, 1775, ANRC: MM
10, fs. 812-820.
24Service record of Captain Vfctor Salcedo y Samodevllla, July
19, 1776, ANC: MM 107, f. 189.

military authority was being undermined.25 To make i*ters worse,

Salcedo soon sided with his enemies in the province' lIocal

disputes. A vendetta en.ued which included public irirsults, charges

and countercharges of misconduct, threatened resignations, by both

parties, as weli as the monetary imprisonment of Salct by the


Such friction between inspector and special commander was the

exception, not the rule in New Granada; normally the report between

these officers was surprisingly good. Since the clastyo in Guayaquil

stemmed out of unusually intense personal animosity, they were handled

as such by Viceroy Guirior. He normally answered the Tomplaints

presented to him by confining himself to restating milliitia regulations

and by formulating state-ents intended to soothe heateg tempers. How-

ever, on occasion he did indicate annoyance with Goveror Ugarte either

by word, or by simply ignoring his complaints,28 Ugare's most effective

25Ugarte to Guirior. Guayaquil, April 19, 1775, AMC, MH 105,
fs. 302-312; id_. to aj... Guayaquil, June 2, 1775, ANCt MM 58, fs.
205-209; id. to J., Guayaquil, July 19, 1775, ANC: flO0, fs.
26Castillo, pp. 153-155; Ugarte to Guirior. Guayaquil, July 19,
1775, ANC: Pil 110, fs. 253-362.

27Salcedo y Sorodevilla to Guirior, Guayaquil, fvemiber 19,
1774, ANC: MM 106, fs. 699-701; id.. to id., Guayaquill, April 19,
1775, ANC: MM 101, fs. 233-235; Ugarte to Guirior, G/aaquil, April
19, 1775, ANC: MM 105, fs. 302-312; id. to id., Guayac>il, June 2,
1775, ANC: lM 58, fs. 205-209; id. to id., Guayaquil, July 19, 1775,
ANC: m- 110, fs. 353-362; Salcedo y Somodevilla to Girrior, Guaya-
quil, October 5, 1775, AJiC: MM 107, fs. 742-743; id. tC id., Guaya-
quil, December 2, 1775, N i: PM 107, fs. 135-136.
28UExediente de aueias del qobernador de Guayva-i f re las fa-
cultades ge se han conferido con periuicio suio, 177-75, ANC: MM
108, fs. 727-746.

weapon against Salcedo aes in rejecting officer proposals which he

was entitled to review as inspector. In the face of this tactic,

it is unlikely that Salceoa could have ever completed his task had

not Guirior as a -atter of course merely overridden Ugarte's vetos,

explaining to the cro' t-at the governor's objections stemmed from

personal vindictive-ess directed toward obstructing the progress of

the reform. Renarka-ly. Salcedo managed to terminate the formation

of the new units by iJe. 1775. This was a feat for which he won

lavish praise from Vicercy Guirior who was eager to see the program

executed successfully-33

In structuring tie chain of coraand for the new militia of

Guayaquil, Guirior bypssed the office of commandant general of

Quito by working directly with the governor of Guayaquil, who was

directed to function as inspector. This arrangement did not rep-

resent a break with established precedent, but rather, conformity

to it. Since the eszahlishment of the governorship, the governors

of Guayaquil had operated largely on an independent basis in military

affairs. The cmrad-a-t general of Quito was likewise excluded from

direct participation ia tre next area of reform, Popayhn, as was the

crnnandant general of Cartagena when endeavors were finally extended

to Santa Karta. The canrcun factor in all three cases was that the

29Ugarte to airier, Guayaquil, July 19, 1775, and Guirior to
Ugarte, Santa Fe, Secascer 17, 1775, AC: MM 105, fs. 313-326;
Guirior to Arriaga. Sa-:a Fe, December 15, 1775, ANC: Mf 10, fs.

30Salcedo y So-cideilla to Guirior, Guayaquil, June 2, 1775,
ANC: H9 51 fs. 55-56; Gairior to Arriaga, Santa Fe, December 15,
1775, ANC: HI 10, f5. S;Z-820.

local governor had an independent local regular troop authorization,

was a military man himself, and in consequence had traditionally

acted with a large measure of local autonomy. This system tended

to reconfirm the federalist character of the military establishment

in New Granada.

Guirior's modifications on the structure and procedures of

disciplined militia create problems with respect to classification.

The militia of Guayaquil, although referred to as "disciplined,"

was obviously not of the same military stature as the better of the

new units of Cartagena and Panama; due to a want of veteran advisers

it only partly met established standards and in consequence was most

certainly less thoroughly trained and disciplined. In effect, the

disciplined militia established in Guayaquil was second class. For

that matter, the militia of Cartagena and Panama which was not part

of battalions, the units of the outlaying regions, also frequently

languished for lack of proper attention and in that respect was not

far different from that of Guayaquil.31 It is difficult to determine

in concrete terms any significant difference between those second

class units and the militia of Veragua which came just as close to

meeting specifications, but which was not given the higher rating;

the distinction was largely bureaucratic. The primary difference

was that the "disciplined" militia should have enjoyed a full veteran

cadre as well as full complement of equipment, while there was no such

pressing obligation in the case of non-disciplined militia. Or to

31Report on the militia of Cartagena, Governor Juan Pimienta,
March 26, 1778, ANC: mm 40, fs. 152-165.

state the distinction another way, classification was based not so

much on fact as on aspiration.

Another development in militia terminology was a broadening

of the usage of the urban classification. Because the new type of

militia classified as disciplined was in fact a new variety of

provincial militia, the functionaries of the reform period began

to lump the non-disciplined provincial militia into the urban category

to distinguish it from its reformed counterpart. Hence, all non-

disciplined soon were generally referred to as "urban." For the

remainder of this study, in conformity with contemporary terminology,

non-disciplined militia will alho be referred to as urban.

The most concrete consequence of distinctions in formal clas-

sification was in the application of the fuero de querra militar.32

The fuero military was a body of judicial privileges enjoyed in vary-

ing degrees by the several branches of the military. Holders of the

fuero were entitled to have their cases brought before military rather

than civil or ordinary tribunals. This was a highly valued privilege

which set the possessor apart and above his neighbors. Members of

the regular army were entitled to this protection in both civil and

criminal causes. Those disciplined militia units of the empire

formed under terms of the Cuban reglamento were also so privileged.

By contrast, the fuero of urban militia was normally restricted to

officers and then limited to only criminal hearings. Only in case

of mobilization would the members be entitled to the complete fuero.

32For a complete description see chapter VI.

Because of this differentiation in privilege, it was of great consequence

to the membership whether or not their militia unit was formally clas-

sified as disciplined.

Viceroy Guirior was pleased with his accomplishment in Guayaquil

and in his relaci6n de mando to his successor Manuel de Flores recom-

mended that the incoming viceroy follow the system he had devised.33

This Flores did, expanding the reform to Popayan in a manner not far

different from that followed In Guayaquil. Popayfn was the first

province in the interior of the viceroyalty to raise disciplined

militia. The reason for this distinction was essentially the same

as for the establishment of the fixed company in 1771 and was one of

the long-run consequences of the disorders of 1765. In fact, domestic

peace with corresponding obedience to functionaries of the crown still

had not been totally achieved In spite of the presence of the company

of regular troops. Ruling circles continued to harbor a fear of lurk-

ing sedition, and this wariness Intensified due to word of royal inten-

tions to revitalize the tax system. Moreover, unrest in Buga in 1778

required the sending of a detachment of regular troops.34 Expediency

likewise in part determined this choice of location; the presence of

a company of regular troops provided an immediate source of personnel

33Gulrlor, Relaciones de mando . . pp. 186-187.

34Ureta to Zelaya, Santa Fe, October 17, 1774, ANC: MM 74, fs.
754-761; royal officials of Popayan to Flores, Popayan, August 2, and
November 17, 1778, bid.. fs. 926-927, 947-954; Nieto to Flores, Popa-
ydn, April 2, May 17, and May 24, 1779, ANC: MM 52, fs. 767-778;
Flores to the royal officials of Popayan, Santa Fe, August 26, 1778,
ACC: Colonia, Gobierno, sig. 5553.

for the formation of the cadre of regular officers. Indeed, It Is

significant that in the implementation of the reform in New Grenada,

disciplined militia was formed only in those areas which already had

a fixed contingent of regulars, or one within close proximity.

Based on recommendations by Captain Diego Antonio Nieto of

Popaydn's fixed company, Flores issued the initiating order on

February 17, 1777, with royal approval following on July 18.3 As

in Guayaquil, the special command of the militia was entrusted to

the captain of the local fixed company with the governor acting as

inspector. Militia was to be established on the basis of separate

companies of which the majority were planned for the cities of the

Cauca Valley, but with geographical dimensions ranging as far south-

west as Barbacoas near the Pacific Ocean.

In contrast to Guayaquil, the relationship between the governor.

Pedro de Becaria y Espinosa, and the special commander, Olego Antonio

Nieto, was relatively harmonious. Out of consideration for the huge

geographical scope of the enterprise, duties in the formation of the

companies were split between the two men. The governor himself

raised the new companies in Pasto and Barbacoas while Nieto handled

the project in the city of Popayan and regions to the north.3 Since

Becaria while working in the southwest was for practical purposes out

35Flores to the royal officials of Popaydn, Santa Fe, April 26,
1777. ACC: Colonia, MI-5P, sig. 7086; Royal order, July 18, 1777,
and Hieto to the Cabildo, 1778, ACC: Cabildo 29, f. 7; Nieto to
Flores, Homp6s, April 6, 1780, ANC: MM 87, fs. 822-831.

36Nieto to Flores, Cartago, February 2 and February 9, 1777, ANC:
MM 52, fs. 332-348; id.. to Id., Momp6s, April 6, 1780, ANC: MM 87, fs.

of the range of immediate communication with the special commander,

Nieto at times sent his officer proposals directly to the viceroy,

although he also sent a duplicate list to the governor. This system

preserved the technical chain of command, but bent it enough to

provide the viceroy with an advanced start toward making his own

decision before receiving Becaria's opinion. Such cooperation

would have been impossible in Guayaquil.

Good will at the upper level of activity was only part of the

story. At the local level government functionaries., particularly

the deputy governors, met the reform with a cool reception. Opposi-

tion was based on a genuine fear that the militia, rather than

strengthen royal authority, might instead undermine it. Tihe most pres-

sing concern was that the militia, once trained and armed, might not be

reliable. It was contended that in view of the unsettled state of

domestic affairs arming large portions of the citizenry was a dangerous

risk, for in time of need they might well turn their newly acquired

skills against royal authority instead of supporting it. Moreover,

local justices assumed a decidedly hostile attitude toward the prospect

of contending with the fuero military within their respective jurisdic-

tions. This body of privilege would remove many of the most active

members of the communities from the scope of their authority and in

consequence would tend to weaken the prestige of local government.

In many communities, there was already much left to be desired on

that account. Neither Viceroy Flores, Governor Becaria, nor Commander

37Nieto to Flores, Cartago, February 2 and February 9, 1777,
ANC: MM 52, fs. 332-348.

Salcedo shared these fears and the reorganization proceeded in spite

of the objections, although much more was to be heard of them at a

later date.38

By 1779 a new militia of fourteen companies had taken shape, of

which two each were established in the cities of Cartago, Buga, Cali,

Pasto, and Barbacoa, with four organized in the capital city (see

Table 2). Plans called for a cadre of veteran personnel which in

addition to Nieto would consist of two ayudantes mayores for the

command and staff group, and a veteran sergeant acting as ayudante

in each city. However, in his initial efforts Nieto was aided only

by one ayudante mayor and two sergeants, all three drawn from the

fixed unit. As time passed, the list was completed, but not fully

so until the middle of the next decade which was too late to be of

appreciable initial assistance. By the end of 1779, for example,

at which time company formation was complete, only three sergeants

and two ayudantes mayores were functioning. The second ayudante

mayor, a cadet sent to Popay5n from the viceroy's halberdiers, had

just arrived.39

The veteran staff members were to journey periodically from one

part of the establishment to another to provide required professional

38Becaria to Flores, PopaySn, January 2 and June 2, 1778, ANC:
MM 74, fs. 780-793, 932-935; Nieto to Flores, Momp6s, April 6, 1780,
ANC: MM 87, fs. 822-831; Becaria to Flores, Popaydn, 1780, ANC: MM
98, fs. 815-816.

39Militia salary lists, November, 1778, August, 1779, and
January, 1785, ACC: Colonia, MI-5P, sig. 5562, sig. 6027, and sig.
5932; Flores to Becaria, Santa Fe, June 23, 1778, ibid., sig. 7086;
Nieto to Flores, Momp6s, April 6, 1780, ANC: MM 87, fs. 822-831.

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