The emergence of the Republic of Bolivia

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The emergence of the Republic of Bolivia
Arnade, Charles W
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University of Florida Press
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Bolivie. Histoire avant 1825 ( Bdic )
History -- Bolivia -- Wars of Independence, 1809-1825 ( lcsh )
Histoire -- Bolivie ( rvm )
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
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Full Text


74 R ;ekubic oa Blivcia



74 ThefReulic of BCivia

Uversity of alwruida PetC4
acnaewlle 1957


A UnCiversit o lorida Press o


PREFACE ............................................. vii

FOREWORD .......................................... ix

1- THE TWO SYLLOGISMS.......................... 1

2- THE ARMIES OF THE PARTISANS................. 32

3- THE ARMIES OF DOOM.......................... 57
4- DOS CARAS........................................ 80
5-THE GREAT INTRIGUE........................... 100

6-A HOUSE DIVIDED................................ 116
7- "LIBERATOR" AND TRAITOR..................... 139

8-FROM PUNO TO CHEQUELTE................... 161

9- THE TURNCOAT ASSEMBLY........................ 183
NOTES ................................................ 207
ABBREVIATIONS ..................................... 243

BIBLIOGRAPHY ...................................... 247

LIST OF ARCHIVES ...................................... 251
LIST OF REFERENCES .................................... 252
INDEX ............... ............................. 263


attempt in English to present a section of Bolivian
history with the help of primary sources. It is obvious that in such
a task I had to rely on the help of many people. Without their
cooperation and enthusiasm this book would have never seen print.
To the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Foundation I owe a special
word of thanks for awarding me a substantial grant which
enabled my family and me to go to Bolivia in search of sources.
I was able to remain for fourteen months in that fascinating country,
where I already had spent six years in my teens.
A small grant from the Florida State University Research
Council provided me with student help in the final preparation of
the manuscript.
All the Bolivian scholars I met received me with great enthusi-
asm. Don Gunnar Mendoza, the energetic director of the Archivo
y Biblioteca Nacional de Bolivia, was a constant source of help. He
provided me with a great deal of material with which I was unac-
quainted. Mr. Mendoza spent innumerable hours aiding me in my
research and in discussing the many phases of Bolivian history.
He is a good scholar and a splendid friend. To all other employees
of the Archivo y Biblioteca Nacional I am very grateful for their
patient help and their many attentions and courtesies.
Don Jorge Urioste, past president of the Sociedad Geografica de
Sucre, also dedicated long hours to aiding me. Without any quali-
fications, he put the rich collection of the society at my disposal.
There are many more Bolivians in Sucre, La Paz, Cochabamba,


Potosi, and Oruro who gave me valuable assistance at one time or
another. The list is long and space does not permit me to mention
them. I will always remember them all with pleasant memories.
But I cannot fail to mention the dynamic Bolivian historian, Dr.
Humberto Vazquez-Machicado, of La Paz. His great generosity
in making available his rare collections which took years to gather
was a most unexpected and welcome gesture.
An equal number of people helped me in this country. Mrs.
Margot de la Cruz, an instructor at the University of Puerto Rico,
was helpful in pointing out many defects in grammar and style. To
Dr. Donald E. Worcester of the University of Florida I owe equal
thanks for his valuable comments and criticism. Drs. A. Curtis
Wilgus, Raymond E. Crist, and Lyle N. McAlister of the University
of Florida and Dr. Harris G. Warren of the University of Missis-
sippi gave many suggestions. The reference staff of the University
of Florida Library was extremely helpful in locating and providing
me with printed sources that were unavailable in Bolivia. Pro-
fessor Charles B. Varney of the University of Florida prepared the
maps. His expert geographical knowledge was of great assistance.
It is no exaggeration to say that my wife, Marjorie, has spent
as much time as I on this work. She checked and rechecked the
manuscript, which she typed twice, and was my most severe critic.
To her I owe more than to anyone else and she is as much the
author of this book as I.
A last word of sincere appreciation goes to my four little boys,
Frank, Carlos, Stephen, and Timothy, who have done the impossible,
for in the three years of my preparing this book they have never
destroyed a single page. Neither have they used pages of the
manuscript as their scrap paper or scattered them in all directions.
But I am sure this is just a coincidence. It is to Carlos that I dedi-
cate this book because he was born in old Chuquisaca (today
Sucre) while we were in Bolivia. The many events discussed in
this book are part of the very history of his native town.
For errors of fact and interpretation I assume full responsibility.
Unquestionably their number has been reduced by the helpful
hands of my friends who showed a lively interest in this study. To
all of them goes a most modest and simple muchas gracias.

Tallahassee, Florida


ENTRIES BEFORE COLUMBUS sailed from the port
of Palos, there dwelt in the central part of South
America, high in the mountains, a people who worshiped the sun
and revered Mother Earth, and who gradually extended their cul-
tural and political influence from the shores of Lake Titicaca. They
had developed a civilization which had managed to solve many of
the problems that confound us today. They lived mostly by agricul-
ture and they learned how to share production for the benefit of all;
there was, therefore, little strife over what they had. It was enough,
and almost everyone had a fair share.
These people had their problems, of course. The high altitude
in which they lived made the raising and harvesting of crops diffi-
cult; they had problems about water. Yet they were energetic and
resourceful. Since war was almost unknown, their energies could
be devoted to the task of cultivating the soil. They knew that there
was great mineral wealth around them. A large part of their
economy was based on copper which they used for tools and utensils.
Gold and silver had been discovered, but to them these metals did
not mean wealth. They were symbols of the sun and the moon and
were used for ornaments. They were pretty metals and were valued,
but their possession did not give any individual power over his
fellow man.
These same people were discovered by men from other con-
tinents who brought another civilization with them, a civilization
that was harsh and powerful and which used weapons of iron and
steel. However, while the real strength of such a civilization lay in


iron, it used gold and silver as money. These were the media of
exchange, and they gave their fortunate possessor great power which
was often used to acquire still more power.
The agricultural civilization fell before the weapons of iron and
steel, and peace vanished from the country of which I speak. The
conquerors concentrated on the production of gold and silver.
Farming was neglected. Shafts were sunk in the earth and the native
population was forced to work in the mines. Billions of dollars'
worth of gold and silver were sent overseas. The peoples were
driven like animals to find and dig still more metal to be sent out of
the country. Other minerals and metals were found. The con-
querors discovered new uses for these minerals and metals. They
searched for and mined them with the same feverish energy and
greed which had distinguished the search for gold and silver. Power
and wealth mounted but nothing remained in the hands of the
natives. The people as a whole had only the privilege of working
ceaselessly, living on little and dying at an early age, worn out and
old before their time.
One day the imperial power that had been supporting such
colonial domination crumbled under the impact of new spiritual
and material forces: the North American and the French revolu-
tions, the former based on the principle of self-determination, and
the latter on the abolition of power based on privilege and class
Was the spreading of ideas of democracy, liberty, and self-
government the main factor involved in the revolutionary move-
ments among the Spanish Colonies? Did Great Britian expect to
reconstruct its Colonial Empire in America at the expense of the
Spanish Colonies? Was the invasion of the Iberic Peninsula by the
Napoleonic forces the determining factor for the disintegration of
the Spanish Colonial Empire? Was the independence won by the
former colonies a complete or partial restoration of power to the
descendants of the peoples of the ancient American culture? Why
were the former provinces of the Spanish Colonial Empire unable
to form a single Federation, similar to that of the United States of
America? These questions are being answered by history.
Dr. Charles W. Arnade has worked on a very important chapter
of the history of Bolivia and he finds the answers to some of the
above-mentioned questions. His book is written with the precision
of a true academic work of art, and to introduce it is not only an
honor but a source of deep satisfaction.


Shakespeare saw the march of men as actors in this tremendous
drama of life. It is possible to elaborate on that concept and see the
immense theater, the earth; the eternal actor, man; the argument,
history; and as spectators, the eternal things of the cosmos. Charac-
ters will change with the ages and the heroes will succeed each
other, leading the chorus and the retinue. The scenery will also
change from one point to another on the face of the earth, and in
that drama the scenes, if repeated, are never with the same actors
and the same setting. Each act of this eternal human drama seems
to be represented as if it were the final act. The arrogance of the
leading actors often does not let them admit that after them there
will be other leaders, other events going on and on. That is why
this moving drama is so tense, and it seems that each time and in
each scene it is reaching the climax of a spectacular finale.
The emergence of Bolivia as an independent nation and as a
consequence of the collapse of the Spanish Colonial Empire is one
of the most touching scenes of that drama. Dr. Arnade not only
brings to us a methodical and exhaustive account of the human
struggle involved in the birth of a new nation, he also presents the
necessary background for those who are interested in understanding
the struggles of the modern Bolivia. As he summarizes with a
masterful stroke: "On Saturday, August 6, 1825, Bolivia began her
life as an independent nation; she was on the threshold of a terrible
and frightening history."
Ambassador of Bolivia
Washington, D.C.

14afte I


HE LANDS OF UPPER PERU, known in the great Inca
Empire as Kollasuyo, became involved in the
great struggle that lashed over Spanish South America soon after
its conquest in the early decades of the sixteenth century. The
various conquerors disputed their rich claims savagely and their
armies had all the color of the great feudal wars of Europe, but in
a geographical setting much richer and more difficult. Charcas, as
the Spaniards began to call Upper Peru, had been a part of Diego
de Almagro's claim but the Pizarros took possession of it. Yet with
the defeat of the Pizarro brothers, unrest in the lands of Charcas
continued unabated. In 1545 the richest mine ever known to exist
was discovered in its soil. The silver hill of Potosi brought this
majestic and mountainous region into great prominence. Already
rival Spaniards from the newly settled Rio de la Plata region and
the forests of Paraguay were infiltrating Charcas to share the wealth.
And the aggressive Portuguese adventurers were most anxious to
push from the Brazilian plains to the tall mountain of Potosi.'
By 1551 the Council of the Indies saw it necessary to advise
the establishment of an audiencia in Charcas.2 An audiencia was
a vital agency of Spanish rule in the colonies. It supposedly was
the highest court of appeal, but it was much more than this; it
was a "center of executive, administrative, and judicial action."3
It came to acquire political, economic, legislative, ecclesiastic, and
military attributes. Many times it wielded as much power or more
than the viceroy. In the Laws of the Indies (recopilaciones) it was
even stipulated that the audiencia should keep an eternal check


over the viceroys or presidents.4 Here then we have a rudimentary
concept of checks and balances without a separation of power.
Viceroy and audiencia checked each other and both had executive
and legislative power, while the audiencia also had vast judicial
powers. When the audiencia was far away from the viceregal seat
its power was supreme by default. Such a mighty body was created
to govern the provinces of Charcas.
The same day that the royal cedula setting up the Audiencia
of Charcas in 1559 was issued, another cedula was released placing
the new body on an equal basis with that of Lima. When, two
years later, the Audiencia of Charcas began to function, it was
stipulated that it should have jurisdiction over a circle of one hun-
dred leagues in radius (320 miles), with the town of La Plata
(Chuquisaca), the seat of the audiencia, as its center.5 Small as
the audiencia's domain was, in subsequent years much new land
was added. Royal cedula after royal cedula came from Spain,
continually changing the jurisdiction of Charcas, usually adding
territory, occasionally withdrawing some land. Soon no one knew
where the precise limits of Charcas were. This gave rise in modern
times to many disputes between Bolivia and her neighbors, and
she became involved in war more than once.
The Audiencia of Charcas soon wielded power over what is
today Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and parts of Peru,
Brazil, and Chile. Its domain extended from ocean to ocean; from
the Pacific shores of the Atacama Desert to the waters of the Atlan-
tic in the Plata estuary. In South America there was no other body
which possessed so much power over so much land. This audiencia,
removed from its greatest rival, the viceroy in Lima, became arro-
gant. It "appropriated the powers of the sovereign and laughed at
the orders of the viceroy."6 To be chosen an oidor (a judge) of
the Audiencia of Charcas was a great honor which commanded
the respect of everyone. One had to greet its members with the
utmost dignity, and the oidores even began to refuse to kneel during
religious functions. When invited to participate at ceremonies the
members of the audiencia always purposely came late because it
was their belief that everyone had to wait for such an august body.
Not even the Sacred Host, the archbishop, the president, or the
faraway viceroy received respect from the audiencia. Indeed, the
oidores were the practical sovereigns of Charcas. Mariano Moreno,
who in his youth studied in Chuquisaca under the vigilance of the


audiencia, quite properly comments on the "Roman majesty" of
the audiencia.7 At the end of the eighteenth century this powerful
body rallied all inhabitants of Spanish blood and hurled them with
great power against the revolting Indians under the leadership of
the Catari brothers and Tupac Amaru, thus crushing this native
revolt mercilessly. The Audiencia of Charcas had reached the
apex of its power. From then on this majestic and despotic body
began to decline in power, stature, quality, and territory. Also, a
new dynasty in Spain was aware of the need of basic reform of
its empire.
In 1778 the huge Viceroyalty of Peru, to which Charcas had
belonged from its beginning, was split into two viceroyalties, with
the creation of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. The Audiencia
of Charcas became responsible to the new viceroy in Buenos Aires.
Actually, this in itself caused no real damage to the power of the
audiencia, since the new viceroy was as distant from Chuquisaca
as was the one in Lima. But now each viceroyalty had less territory,
and the task of supervision became easier. Besides, two more
audiencias were carved out, one at Buenos Aires, and another at
Cuzco, not too distant from Chuquisaca.8 What really doomed the
majestic rule of the Audiencia of Charcas was the political reform
of 1782, creating intendancies. Eight such intendancies were cre-
ated in the lands of Charcas. At the head of each was appointed
an intendant who was responsible to the viceroy. Much power,
especially of a political and administrative nature, was thus taken
away from the audiencia, limiting its power more nearly to that of
a court of appeal.9 The beginning of the audiencias at Buenos Aires
and Cuzco, plus the administrative reforms and the shifting of
Charcas to a new viceroyalty, were the causes for the passing of
the golden age of the Audiencia of Charcas; however, it was still
an undeniably powerful body. But with the reduction of much of
their authority the oidores began to feel even more arrogant. For
example, they became very particular about correct etiquette to
the point of absurdity. They would bow to no one, but they de-
manded that everyone bow respectfully to them; when they walked
in the street, other inhabitants had to step down from the sidewalk.
Once they even supported, with a judicial decision, a certain citizen
who had refused to address an intendant by the accepted title of
Seiioria.1 Their arrogant and punctilious behavior soon blinded
them to more urgent matters, thereby making them unconsciously


the tool of subversive elements-a very small minority, to be sure-
that wanted to precipitate a separation from Spain. These radical
elements had developed their theories while studying at the Univer-
sity of Chuquisaca.
Chuquisaca, the seat of the audiencia, was also a university city;
six hundred students lived in town, and around seventy doctors,
mostly in law and theology, guided these students. More than five
hundred of the students came from all over the viceroyalty to study
and receive degrees at the Universidad Pontificia y Real de San
Francisco Xavier or the Real Academia Carolina, and about one
hundred were local residents.11 Yet it was a small provincial town
in the midst of the Andes. It conformed to the wise advice of the
old Spanish code, the siete partidas, as stated in its first law, that
a house of studies should be in a "good place and beautiful sur-
roundings" so that the students might study in peace and the
teachers think in a refined, quiet atmosphere. There was plenty
of tranquillity in which to think and ponder, and some men took
full advantage of it; revolutionary ideas were born there.
The university was founded by a papal bull in 1621, confirmed
by a royal cedula the following year. Classes began on a very
limited scale in 1623, but the audiencia did not give its mark of
approval until 1624. The Jesuits were allowed the exclusive right
to guide the new university. The same year they wrote and received
approval of the charter for the new university. A glorious career
lay ahead for the institution.12 But in 1767 the Jesuit era came to
an end with the expulsion of the order from Spanish America, and
the university passed through a critical period. It was turned over
to lay hands but the archbishop of Charcas became its chancellor;
however, because of the vice-patronato, the president of the audi-
encia did not hesitate to interfere often with the teaching and
administration of the university. The question of professorial ap-
pointments was a continual bone of contention. No defined line of
responsibility was adopted and the smooth functioning of the univer-
sity depended on harmony between the archbishop, the president,
the audiencia, and the cloister of the university which directed the
immediate administration of the college. The problem of curriculum
was one of the hardest to solve, but the new order began to lay
less emphasis on theology and more on training in law.13
With this over-all reorganization of the university, following
the departure of the Jesuits, it was decided in 1776 to create a new

academy in which graduate students could intern in law before
being admitted to the bar. The academy was called the Real
Academia Carolina. The exact position of the academy in relation
to the university and the audiencia is obscure. It is not even
known in which building it functioned.14 An advanced student of
law intending to take his examination before the audiencia was
required to practice before this body under the tutorship of an
oidor. The academy was in charge of this kind of graduate intern-
ship. An oidor was always the master of the academy; the students
were either enrolled in the university or graduates from it. Therefore
the academy could be considered a graduate law school of the
university administered by the audiencia. It was a place where
the advanced law students gathered together, had their carrells,
consulted specialized law volumes, and received their tutors' assign-
ments and criticisms. Throughout the day advanced students and
lawyers of the town gathered in the recreation hall of the academy
to converse and to discuss the whole range of human knowledge.
Many of these discussions were vigorous and sometimes attracted
a wide audience; some were of a highly abstract nature. Many
more hours were spent in discussion than in studying law or
practicing law before the tribunal. It was in this hall of the academy
that radical ideas began to develop during these private polemics.
The academy, with no physical remains left today, was small, but
within its halls were planted the seeds which brought doom to the
Spanish empire in all of southern South America.
When these students and graduate lawyers began to develop
ideas questioning the sanctity of the Spanish crown remains a
matter of speculation. Just as they loved to argue in the hall of
the academy or over drinks in the taverns, they were extremely
fond, too, of writing anonymous sheets which they circulated and
answered. These writings were of various types: sarcastic political
essays, philosophical papers, satires, poems, love ballads, or porno-
graphic prose or poetry. Writing was one of the favorite pastimes of
the students. In Chuquisaca everyone seemed to debate about
everything, either by word or in writing, and often the quill was
as prolific as the mouth. These handwritten sheets were known as
libelos, caramillos, or pasquines, and many of them were sent out
from Chuquisaca to be circulated throughout all the audiencia and
the viceroyalty.15 In other towns much of the same thing took
place, inspired by university alumni. Some of these sheets were


satires about the Spanish regime. As early as 1780 some pasquines
circulated in Upper Peru. One said that the Spanish public officials
were "thieves," another called them "pirates." "Death to bad gov-
ernment and long live our monarch," read still another, and a sheet
distributed in La Paz even demanded "death to the King of Spain."16
Many were much more subtle, praising the benevolence of the
Spanish system but with an implicit double meaning. These doctors
were crafty and they argued the whole day and deep into the night,
and they wrote abundantly.
One of the pasquines of a political nature, posted in 1794, pro-
claimed, "Long live France!" In a caramillo dialogue, written in
1807, the questioner asked whether his listener knew "this Franklin,
the revolutionary philosopher who disturbed the monarch of Great
Britain."17 Does this prove that the radical doctors of Charcas
were influenced by the new ideas from France, England, and the
United States? Indeed it does; some of the liberal eighteenth-
century treatises made their way to Chuquisaca; to what extent-
and which titles-is not known. Matias Terrazas, secretary to the
archbishop at the turn of the century, had a splendid library and
since his high position exempted him from the Inquisition list of
forbidden reading, the most modern works were on his shelves.
Mariano Moreno received his indoctrination in the library of
Terrazas and many students and doctors found ways to become
acquainted with Terrazas' books.'8 A certain Upper Peruvian doctor
translated Common Sense by Thomas Paine into Spanish, and con-
ceivably might have even been the first to do so.19 This same
doctor, Vicente Pazos Kanki, in 1825 was so enthusiastic about
American political science that he composed a history of the United
States.20 Bernardo Monteagudo, a main participant in the coming
rebellion for independence in Charcas, was deeply affected by
French and American liberalism.21 But the foreign radical thoughts
were not overly influential in the formation of the revolutionary
doctors of Chuquisaca. They learned their radicalism mostly from
their own university curriculum. It was mainly Roman Catholic
philosophical thought, partially elaborated by a Spaniard, which
brought them on the road of opposition to the colonial system.
No philosopher was studied more at San Francisco Xavier than
Saint Thomas Aquinas. When the students graduated they knew
the philosophy of Aquinas thoroughly and could recite it from
memory. Aquinas' Summa Theologica was the bible of the students

at the university and the academy. Naturally, other great Church
Fathers were studied, too. Among these the famous Jesuit philoso-
pher, Francisco Suarez, was the most outstanding and no student
left the university without understanding the writings of Suarez.
This was because San Francisco Xavier had been exclusively a
Jesuit institution, and Jesuit thought permeated the curriculum as
well as many of the books on the library shelves. These two men
had a great intellectual influence on the generation of 1809 which
precipitated the War of Independence in Charcas.22
The writings of Aquinas, directed mostly toward defending the
papal claims in the great Battle of the Two Swords, were profoundly
political in nature, too. In order to insure good and decent govern-
ment every citizen should participate in its function. Should the
ruler cease to govern for the maximum good of the people, govern-
ment would degenerate into a tyranny and then it might become
the people's right to depose the ruler and replace him with a new
government. To Aquinas rulershipp is an office of trust for the
whole community."23 Therefore resistance to a bad ruler was
justified. Suarez, too, was primarily interested in developing the
supremacy of the pope over the ruler; consequently his writings
were also of a political vein. He concluded that government was
to serve the physical needs of men. Should a ruler forget this
basic responsibility it was within the rights of the people to replace
him with one who would not ignore his duty. Aquinas and Suarez
stood solidly for the papal supremacy, but they developed inher-
ently some revolutionary thought. People had the right to turn
against the king but never against God.
The radical doctors learned their revolutionary ideas from a
study of the history of the papal conflicts and the philosophy pro-
pounded by the Church Fathers. And although radical eighteenth-
century thought was only incidental, it certainly helped to strengthen
their convictions. In order to become thoroughly acquainted with
the great controversy of Church versus State they also read the
works of Machiavelli. This Italian philosopher appealed to the
personality traits of the Upper Peruvian intelligentsia which usually
expressed itself in double talk. In Machiavelli they learned the
many ways that might be taken to achieve a desired result.
But Church thought had developed from ancient Western philos-
ophy, and Roman and Greek ideas were crucial. The law student
at Chuquisaca studied the art of logic thoroughly and through it

was taught the importance of the syllogism. The intelligentsia of
Charcas debated either by pen or orally; arguing was their main
pastime. The syllogism was their most useful tool. As warriors
hold their swords ready to strike, so the doctors at the turn of the
century were always ready to use the syllogism to defend their
point. They handled it with great mastery.24 Aquinas, SuArez,
Machiavelli, and the syllogism were four fundamental elements in
the movement of independence in Charcas. Could separation from
Spain be achieved?
Applying three-Aquinas, Suarez, and the syllogism-of these
four elements, the reasoning of the radicals ran more or less like
this: the king deserves the allegiance of the Americas as long as
he governs for their total benefit. But the king's regime is discrimi-
natory against the Spaniards born in America; therefore their
obedience to the crown is void. Did the revolutionaries believe in
premise number one? Yes, since they were heavily indoctrinated
with Aquinas and Suarez and were profoundly religious. Did they
believe honestly in the second major premise? Yes, since this was
their main cause to dislike the regime. They studied mostly law,
they were trained before the audiencia, yet they could never
aspire to become oidores because they were not born in Spain.
One of them, Dr. Mariano Alejo Alvarez, a graduate of the univer-
sity in Chuquisaca, intended to read an essay entitled "The Pref-
erence That the Americans Ought to Have in the Positions in
America" before the College of Lawyers at Lima.25 The speech
was cancelled and the essay filed away.
But these radicals were a small minority. The masses would
not follow their banner of separation from the Spanish crown. The
Spanish regime in Charcas was respected and the king loved.
United, all the people fought against the great Indian rebellion at
the end of the century; and, united, all the people of Charcas stood
ready to help repel the English in case they were victorious in the
Buenos Aires area.26 The Spanish government still stood on solid
ground in Charcas, and a handful of intellectual radicals who had
learned their ideas from standard texts used in the university could
hardly disturb the solidarity of the regime. Maybe that is why
Father Terrazas was so willing to let students and graduates read in
his splendid uncensored library. And the audiencia, highest Spanish
authority in Charcas, was too preoccupied with punctilious matters
to worry about private affairs of students and young lawyers.27

But these radicals had learned by reading Machiavelli that
political action often requires patience and that the road to the
final result must often lead through ways completely at odds with
their beliefs. While in search for means which would weaken the
crown by crafty subversions, unexpectedly the great chance to do
so arrived. On August 21, 1808, news arrived from Viceroy Santiago
de Liniers in Buenos Aires that the Spanish king, Charles IV, had
abdicated in favor of his son, Ferdinand; that the powerful Manuel
Godoy had fallen from power; and that the French armies were
entering Spain. Hardly a month later, on September 17, further
news arrived in Chuquisaca, telling of the captivity of the Spanish
Bourbons and the coming to power of the Napoleonic dynasty in
Madrid, plus the violent reaction of the Spanish people who had
risen against this usurpation and formed juntas. The one in Seville
requested the leadership of the whole nation to govern in the name
of Ferdinand VII, and asked the Spanish colonies to give their
allegiance to it rather than to the new French authorities in Madrid.
The information also stated that a delegate of the supreme junta,
by the name of Jose Manuel de Goyeneche, a native of Arequipa,
was on his way to the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata to formally
request submission to the junta in Seville.28
The news was directed only to the authorities, which in Charcas
meant the audiencia, the president, and because of his prestige and
influence, the archbishop. These three offices represented the high-
est echelon in the Spanish hierarchy in Charcas. The cabildo and
the university cloister were of inferior rank. Quick and united
decisions, in view of the momentous news from Spain, depended
upon harmony and understanding among the three authorities.
Unfortunately the relationship between the president and the rest
of the audiencia was extremely cold and since 1804 continual
quarrels between them had taken place because of administrative
jealousies.29 The president in his loneliness had found a good friend
in the archbishop, who had become extremely annoyed at the
oidores' haughtiness. This dangerous split, along with the amazing
news from Spain, prepared fertile ground for the few radical
doctors to apply their fourth element (besides those of Aquinas,
Suarez, and the syllogism)-the advice given by Machiavelli in
political behavior and action. From August, 1808, to May, 1809,
a great drama unfolded in Chuquisaca.
Don Ram6n Garcia Le6n de Pizarro became president of Charcas


in 1796. He was born in Spanish Africa of a good family, and had
behind him a long governmental career in the Indies. Before coming
to Chuquisaca he had been stationed in various capacities in Carta-
gena, Rio Hacha, Momp6s, Mainas, Quito, Guayaquil, and Salta.
Pizarro was good-looking: tall, slender, with rosy cheeks. He was
simply but well dressed, and his excellent breeding and manners
inspired great sympathy. The president was open-minded, but
not well-read, and rather a slow thinker. He was neither haughty
nor stern, and mingled with all classes; anyone who wished to
consult him had only to stop him on one of his many walks through
the town. He loved to walk with his servant through the streets
of Chuquisaca unprotected, stopping here and there to chat with
bypassers or with storekeepers. He participated actively in the
activities of the social classes of the town, and was always being
happy and gay. He disliked rough talk or anything that even
resembled a fight. Pizarro abhorred war and was very proud that
he had never fought in a battle; he was a pacifist, the sight of any
weapon nauseated him. Pizarro enthusiastically beautified Chuqui-
saca by creating many parks with shady trees and flowers. He
believed that bread was the most vital food and he himself kept
close watch that the bakers always had plenty of bread at a
reasonable price and that they used the best flour. Everyone loved
him with the exception of the bakers-to whom he was an eternal
nuisance-and his fellow companions on the audiencia, the oidores.
They considered this plain man weak, cowardly, and hardly intelli-
gent. Pizarro was not fond of those haughty judges whose proud
behavior he despised. His great friend was the archbishop.30
Don Benito Maria de Mox6 y de Francoli also came from a dis-
tinguished Spanish family, and had an advanced education and
had held high posts in the Church in Spain and America. He
assumed the archbishopric in Chuquisaca in 1807, taking the place
of the late Jose Antonio de San Alberto, an outstanding figure of
the Enlightenment in the Perus. Mox6 y Francoli was highly
refined and well-read. Quite different from San Alberto, he loved
luxuries and his food, dress, and furniture were the best. His table
was renowned and always well attended. He had a large library
and his gardens were well kept. The archbishop hated vulgarity,
and he was extremely sensitive and afraid of every kind of physical
pain. Any little problem could upset him and he would cry like
a child. In his spare time he wrote sweet poetry which he would

recite in his feminine voice. In demanding obedience from his
subordinates he was stern and very exacting, and his clergy through-
out the extensive archdiocese disliked him because of his sense of
duty and his insistence upon strict devotion. His efforts to reform
the degenerate clergy, especially in Cochabamba, met with tre-
mendous resistance.31 He was rather small, round, and jolly.32
The archbishop was of superior intelligence, intellectually much
more mature than Pizarro. His influence over the goodhearted
president was extensive. Mox6 y Francoli possessed a deep love
for Spain and an even more intense fervor for the Spanish crown.
God and crown were sacred to him. He hated and feared the
English and French.
Indeed, the archbishop was extremely sentimental. He had the
tender sensitivity of a girl in her middle teens. When in August,
1808, the news of the abdication of Charles IV and the invasion
of Spain by the French reached Chuquisaca, Mox6, instead of
maintaining silence, requested the people of the town to go to
church to pray for the survival of Spain. He himself preached and
cried for four days from the pulpit, inciting the people to more
and more prayer. When the church proved too small he marched
with them to the Plaza de Toros to continue the great rogation
under the open sky. Looking toward heaven, he asked the people
to kneel and pray to the Virgin, "Oh, Lady do not permit
that any country of this universe ever wrest us from the sweet
authority of Spain under which our fathers lived so happily."33
Pizarro, too, was happy over such enthusiastic fervor. Charcas
belonged to Spain and she loved Spain: this is what the people
wanted; so thought Mox6 and Pizarro. The audiencia, well-versed
in human nature and human weaknesses, was plainly disgusted.
Why divulge to the people the critical news from Spain; this was
dangerous, and one should never admit weakness. Were not Mox6
and Pizarro playing with fire by telling people what was happening
in Spain? And to pray was even a greater show of weakness, accord-
ing to the oidores. They had wanted to ignore the news, not to
publicize it, and show more strength and power than ever. They
were thoroughly angry at the archbishop's doings.34
In September further bad news came from Spain, via Buenos
Aires, containing the request for allegiance from Seville. In view
of such grave news Pizarro requested the audiencia to meet imme-
diately in real acuerdo (extraordinary administrative session). On


September 18, late in the afternoon, the audiencia met with Pizarro
to consider the communications of Viceroy Liniers. Naturally
Mox6 was informed by his good friend of the news. Immediately,
claiming the love and respect of the people of Charcas, he requested
to be invited to the meeting of the audiencia. The oidores answered
him that when they needed his aid they would call him. Mox6
felt deeply injured by such a blunt rejection. The audiencia in-
formed Pizarro that it was strictly against the law that a church
representative be present at a real acuerdo and that Mox6's request
was a breach of the gravest nature.35 The break between the
archbishop and the audiencia was now final and irreconcilable.
The session of the audiencia was stormy. Pizarro gave the
audiencia the letters from Viceroy Liniers and the latter's request
to submit to the junta in Seville and to receive with dignity the
representative of the junta, Goyeneche, when he arrived in Charcas.
Pizarro was in favor of following the advice of Liniers. To him
the Spanish empire was in danger, and Seville was energetically
assuming the leadership against the French invaders. Therefore
it was in the interest of all colonies to follow the lead of Seville;
if they did not, the empire might disintegrate into anarchy. The
oidores and the fiscal were violently opposed to such a step. Sternly
they examined the letters of Liniers and came to the conclusion
that there was no proof that such grave events had taken place in
the peninsula. After all, they reasoned, any town in Spain could
ask for the colonies' allegiance, inventing news. They decided "to
do nothing," waiting for royal orders.36
Six days later the mail brought further confirmation of the
happenings in Spain. Goyeneche had arrived in Buenos Aires and
Liniers was forwarding the news he had brought to Chuquisaca.
Again Pizarro called the audiencia into real acuerdo. This time
he thought that they would have to recognize that grave events
had really taken place and that in the action of the Spanish people
lay the only hope for the survival of Spain and her empire. But
the oidores were hardly moved. They were set to follow their
policy "to do nothing," or as they stated, no hacer la menor
novedad. It was the fiscal, Miguel L6pez Andreu, who this time
spoke for the audiencia. He said that there was nothing in the
documents brought by Goyeneche that was in accordance with the
Spanish laws. They wished to see the king's order or a written
document from the Council of the Indies, requesting them to


swear allegiance to Seville. Pizarro was flabbergasted. How naive
could they be? The king was a prisoner and the Council of the
Indies had become a tool of the usurping Napoleonic dynasty. But
the audiencia, in view of the absence of a royal order, decided to
continue its policy of doing nothing. The real reason for the
audiencia's rejection of Seville was the oidores' autocratic royalist
philosophy. Seville was the product of the rebellion by the people,
and to recognize Seville was to approve the theory of popular
revolt as exercised in the French Revolution." Interestingly enough,
by holding so tenaciously to this idea they innocently became the
very tools of the radicals. Pizarro, Mox6, and Liniers were much
more practical and saw clearly the danger to which the narrow-
minded action of the audiencia might lead.
After the September twenty-third meeting the lines were clearly
drawn. The audiencia, composed of Antonio Boeto, Jose de la
Iglesia, Jos6 Agustin de Ussoz y Mozi, Jos6 Vasquez Ballesteros,
Gaspar Ramirez de Laredo, and Miguel L6pez Andreu, all penin-
sulares,38 was determined to continue under all circumstances its
policy of doing nothing. They wished to withhold the news of
Spain from the people as much as possible. By insisting on a royal
order to recognize Seville, which was an impossibility, they could
forever postpone submission to the junta. President Pizarro was
for the immediate recognition of the Junta of Seville in order to
maintain the unity of the Spanish empire. Archbishop Mox6 was
fully in agreement with Pizarro but, considering himself the
spiritual leader, he also favored inspiring the masses with a patri-
otic fervor, reminding them that in the hour of danger their
religious duty was to come all out in defense of the Spanish
monarchy. Mox6 told the people that they must repeat and repeat,
"If I could fight with our beloved battalion [in Spain] I would
fight to break the chains of Ferdinand, but a huge ocean does not
let me do this. But even so, from this faraway distance I shall
never cease to serve you, O beloved fatherland."39 This was
obviously in direct opposition to the audiencia's policy of main-
taining the populace in ignorance. The situation between the two
forces was becoming explosive.
This was further aggravated when Mox6, in his great zeal to
mobilize public opinion, demanded from his clergy that they swear
allegiance to the Junta of Seville and declared that those who
refused would be excommunicated. The audiencia then requested an


explanation from Mox6 for such a daring action. Mox6, when
confronted by the audiencia, acted evasively and denied that he
had threatened those who disobeyed with excommunication. He
said that he had only given them "fatherly and healthy advice."40
Yet in the minutes of the meeting held by Mox6 with the clergy
it states precisely that Mox6 said, "I order under the penalty of
secret excommunication (excomunion mayor reservada) that no
one of this body should have doubts about the legality of the
supreme Junta of Seville."41 The audiencia was determined to
force the archbishop out of office when the right opportunity
came.42 At this moment they could not yet act without precipi-
tating a serious conflict. In the last days of September, 1808, the
situation in Chuquisaca was tense. By then the people knew of the
serious split among the Spanish authorities. Everyone expected
that the rivalries might reach a climax when the delegate from
Seville, Manuel Goyeneche, should arrive in Chuquisaca. But
there was an even greater question, unknown to most people: what
would the radical doctors do in view of the astounding event
that had taken place in Chuquisaca?
The radicals had observed the clash between the audiencia, on
the one hand, and the president supported by the archbishop, on
the other, with great interest. They soon realized that they should
close ranks with the archconservative oidores. It was now time
to apply the theories of Machiavelli, since to support the audiencia,
the very rock of Spanish power, was completely contrary to their
hopes for everlasting separation from Spain. But the radicals
realized immediately that to aid the pro-Seville forces would be to
support those who wanted to maintain the unity of the Spanish
empire in view of the grave dangers that confronted Spain. To
support the audiencia would mean to bring quasi independence
to Charcas under the leadership of the audiencia until the return
of Ferdinand. The radicals were aware that the oidores, by refusing
allegiance to Seville, were for all practical purposes separating
Charcas under their leadership. If there was no allegiance to a
single existent authority in Spain then the empire was in danger
of breaking up. The oidores in their supercilious behavior were
blinded to the real consequences of their action. Of this blindness
the intelligent and dangerous radicals took advantage. It was to
their interest to support the oidores. It was too doubtful whether
Ferdinand would ever come back or whether he would be able


to have a legal successor. They recognized that from the quasi
independence under the not too astute audiencia to independence
under the radicals was a short step. Chuquisaca, the intellectual
center of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, would lead the way
to independence. This was their intimate thinking, but how could
they rationalize their support of the audiencia? They again fell
back upon the syllogism.
This time they used the syllogism to defend the legality of the
crown. Their rightful king had been imprisoned and by sheer
force obliged to abdicate in favor of a foreign dynasty. This was
the minor premise. It was irrefutable, since it was confirmed by
the mail in September. The major premise outlined the legality
of the union of the crown and the Indies. It said that in the Laws
of the Indies (recopilaciones) it was stated that the union of the
American colonies was directly with the crown and that it consti-
tuted an insoluble bond. In this great code of law the Spanish
crown said, "We shall promise and give our royal word of honor
that we and our successors shall never alienate or separate part or
all [of the Indies] for any reason whatsoever. Should our
successors alienate or separate [these lands] it shall be void, this
we declare."43 It meant that the Indies and the crown were united
forever in an eternal allegiance. The colonies did not belong to
Spain but to the crown, the crown of Castile and Aragon. The
everlasting union could not be destroyed either by the king or by
the Indies. Therefore the conclusion was that Ferdinand could not
have given the Indies to a new foreign ruler nor could he have
delegated his power over the Indies to a junta in Seville. The
rulers in Seville might speak for the people of Spain, but the
Indies were not part of Spain but belonged to the king. Their
lawful sovereign was the king, who now was Ferdinand. It did not
matter that he was in prison. He could abdicate only to the one
who was in the rightful line of succession, and he had not done
this. This was the syllogism of legality44 which led to quasi inde-
pendence. It stood squarely in contrast to the syllogism based on
the right of the people to rebel as stated by Aquinas and Suarez,
which the radicals believed but could not advocate as it would lead
nowhere but to defeat. As one historian has put it, it was the
cara versus the careta (the face versus the mask),45 and the
rebellious doctors decided to use the careta at the appropriate


Meanwhile, the delegate from Seville, Jose Manuel de Goye-
neche, left Buenos Aires for Charcas on September 20, 1808. In
Chuquisaca Pizarro and Mox6 were anxiously awaiting the repre-
sentative, hoping that he might convince the audiencia to submit
to Seville. Mox6, again defying the audiencia, and wishing to
make himself acceptable to Goyeneche, issued a pastoral letter
the day before Goyeneche's arrival, in which he glorified the Junta
of Seville as "the liberator of the generous Spanish nation" and
the "faithful depository of the [Spanish] throne."46 He asked the
people of Chuquisaca to receive Goyeneche with exuberant enthusi-
asm. Although Mox6 had never met Goyeneche, he glorified the
representative's personality. Pizarro, also wishing to gain the favor
of the approaching Goyeneche, issued a public letter to the audi-
encia in which he said that he was in complete disagreement with
the real acuerdos of that body ignoring the wishes of Seville and
deciding to do nothing.47 Before this, Pizarro had done his best
to keep his disagreement with the oidores from the people as much
as possible. Now he decided to follow the policy of Mox6 and make
public the tremendous split among the Spanish authorities; he also
criticized the position of the oidores.
On November 11, Goyeneche reached Chuquisaca and was
received with immense enthusiasm by the people, Mox6, and
Pizarro. The audiencia was conspicuously absent. Mox6 gave a
pompous speech of welcome.48 Goyeneche was immensely pleased
with Mox6 and Pizarro, and everyone was highly impressed with
Goyeneche, a man who really was clever, shrewd, and deceptive.
But the representative inspired great respect. He was tall, slender,
and extremely good-looking. He dressed elegantly and neatly, in
the latest French style.49 His behavior was dignified and decorous,
but any man with insight could have detected a certain haughti-
ness and a complete mechanization of gestures and phrases. But
Mox6 and Pizarro, not being experts in human nature, were over-
joyed with Goyeneche, while he, a much shrewder observer,
immediately detected the weaknesses of the archbishop and the
president. He realized that Pizarro was of limited intelligence and
that he relied heavily on the archbishop. In Mox6 he detected an
extreme sensitivity and a fanaticism for the Spanish crown.
When Goyeneche, Pizarro, and Mox6 were alone, the delegate
from Seville told the archbishop that the situation of the Spanish
kings was dubious; it might even be considered hopeless. Mox6


then became overwrought, tears came into his eyes, and he inco-
herently muttered that he would prefer to die in the jungle from
the bites of snakes, lions, and tigers than to live under the cruel
regime of the French.50 Goyeneche had anticipated this event. At
the precise psychological moment he removed from his pockets
two heavy letters and gave one to Pizarro and one to Mox6. When
the archbishop looked at the envelope he became joyful, blushed,
and his eyes brightened. It was a letter addressed to him, in her
own handwriting, from Carlota Joaquina of the House of Bourbon,
princess-regent of Portugal, who was then in Brazil, daughter of
Charles IV and sister of the imprisoned King Ferdinand VII. Mox6
could not believe it; was it possible that an immediate member of
the Spanish crown had condescended to write to him directly; what
an honor, what a delight!51
Both Mox6 and Pizarro held the unopened letters nervously.
Although consumed with curiosity they decided to return them to
Goyeneche. It was their opinion that it would be improper to open
in private letters that came from a foreign nation. It should be
done before the audiencia. The personal meeting then ended and it
was decided that the president should call the audiencia into
session the next day to introduce the representative of Seville. The
session was called in the late afternoon of November 12. At first
the oidores had refused to come, but Pizarro, this time using strong
words, ordered the members of the audiencia to attend; in addition
he insisted on the presence of the archbishop and two representa-
tives of the cabildo.52 Reluctantly the audiencia conceded. The
presence of Goyeneche was needed to give Pizarro a certain
strength he had lacked earlier.
The meeting took place in a room in the president's house. At
last the audiencia would meet this Goyeneche, the imposter, as
they thought him. As the members filed into the elaborately deco-
rated room there was an air of tenseness. Hardly anyone talked;
each sat in his chair, avoiding looking at the others. Goyeneche,
immaculately dressed, was introduced by Pizarro. Immediately
the delegate from Seville addressed the assembly; his words were
the platitudes of etiquette. Then he handed his credentials to the
regente-oidor, Boeto, an old, distinguished-looking gentleman. Boeto
got up, and handing the credentials to the fiscal, said that since
there was no royal signature nor that of the Council of the Indies
he thought the credentials, and therefore the mission, of Goyeneche

were invalid and unacceptable. As if hit by lightning Goyeneche
jumped up and furiously told Boeto that his naivete and behavior
were disloyal to the crown and insulting to the imprisoned King.
Boeto, first pale, then red in his face, also jumped up and, beating
his chest, screamed, "I, a traitor? I, a traitor? Impossible! Impos-
sible!" To which Goyeneche shouted that he would imprison
anyone who refused to obey the Junta of Seville. Then Boeto, more
infuriated, beads of perspiration running down his scarlet face,
pointed at Goyeneche and loosed a stream of angry vituperations,
calling the delegate a "dirty adventurer, paper general, roving
cashier without bail and guarantee," and adding obscene insults.
Suddenly everyone was on his feet, rushing to avoid a fist fight
between Boeto and Goyeneche. There was a long moment of
confusion. Finally Mox6 was able to placate Boeto, and Pizarro
was successful in calming Goyeneche. Again silence prevailed.
Any further debate was impossible. Mox6 and Pizarro uttered some
words about the need of harmony, and expressed the hope that
the imprisoned king would come back soon. The members of the
audiencia insisted that they would continue to uphold their real
acuerdos to carry on their policy of doing nothing in regard to the
constitutional problems of the crown.53
But there was one more item of business to be taken care of.
For nearly twenty-four hours Mox6 and Pizarro had waited anxiously
for the opportunity to open the letters from Carlota. Before break-
ing up the meeting of the audiencia and notables, Goyeneche
again handed the envelopes to the president and the archbishop.
Both quickly opened the letters and, after reading them, showed
them to the other members. There was a startled silence. The
content of the letters was of a completely unexpected nature; it
put the whole constitutional problem into a new perspective. The
letter to Pizarro contained several proclamations54 by Carlota in
which she declared that since her father and brother were forced
to abdicate the Spanish throne by the French forces she was the
legal depository of the crown. Carlota wrote, "I think it is con-
venient and opportune to forward these proclamations in which
I declare void the abdication or resignation that my father, the
King, Charles IV, and other members of my royal family of Spain
[Ferdinand VII] have made to the Emperor and General of the
French. I only consider myself as the depository and defender
of those [royal rights] and I want to conserve them undamaged

and immune from the perversity of the French in order to turn them
back when possible to the legal representative of my august
The significance of this was that Carlota, in view of the impris-
onment of Charles IV and Ferdinand VII, was claiming the Spanish
colonies. The letter to Mox6 included that proclamation as well
as a personal salute from the princess. In the face of such momen-
tous news the audiencia vacillated, but then insisted that since
these letters were directed to Pizarro and Mox6, they had little to
do with them. Thus ended the stormy meeting of November 12,
1808.56 But everyone was aware that a completely new factor had
entered the tense picture of Charcas. And everyone must have
thought about another question: Why was Goyeneche, who was
supposed to represent the claims of Seville, carrying letters con-
taining a rival claim? Handing over the letters, Goyeneche said
they were given to him in Buenos Aires by a British sea captain
who had come from Rio de Janeiro, who had asked him to carry
them to Charcas as a favor. But today it is known that the delegate
from Seville was really riding two horses; he was also the agent
for Carlota.57
The introduction of the Portuguese claim into the already com-
plex picture in Chuquisaca made a final peaceful solution less
probable. Carlota's claim did not help the party of the president
at all, but did hasten his fall. The Portuguese letters became a
potent catalyst in accelerating events to their final violent con-
clusion; they were the immediate cause for the start of the War of
Independence in Charcas. Those proclamations gave the audiencia
a powerful weapon against the president and the archbishop. And
they forced the radical doctors to come out into the open and
take the lead against the presidential forces. Yet the doctors still
trapped the archconservative and royalist audiencia in their nearly
imperceptible web.
Goyeneche, realizing the futility of trying to persuade the
audiencia, but knowing that he had planted his seed successfully
with Mox6 and Pizarro, soon left Charcas for La Paz and Lower
Peru. Since Mox6 and Pizarro-true, though shortsighted, Spanish
patriots-were interested in preserving the unity of the Spanish
empire, the idea of Carlota appealed to them. To both it was
more practical and legal than the cause of Seville which they had
upheld. What they did not realize was that the Portuguese move


was calculated solely to absorb the Spanish colonies by taking
advantage of the defeat of the Spanish Bourbons. It was not done
because of a desire to help the hard-pressed Spanish crown. Mox6
and Pizarro hoped that recognition of Carlota might be more
appealing to those who had opposed Seville. After all, one of the
objections to Seville was that it was created by the revolution of
the people. But the claim of Carlota came from the nearest rela-
tive of the imprisoned kings (father and son). Again, what the
president and the archbishop did not see was that by supporting
the claims of Carlota they might be accused of infidelity, in insisting
on giving allegiance to a foreign country which had long had an
ambition to acquire more of the Spanish colonies.58
When the audiencia refused to recognize the Junta of Seville
it simply insisted on its right to do what it pleased, giving as a legal
excuse the theory that the radical doctors had worked out for
them in their legal syllogism (the syllogism of the careta). But it
could hardly accuse Pizarro and Mox6 of any grave breach of the
Spanish laws. At last it had an issue. Moreover, the president and
the archbishop decided to answer the letters of Carlota in a vein
that might be easily construed as favoring her dynastic claims.59
The audiencia could accuse, as indeed it did, the president and
the archbishop of treason.60 Francisco de Viedma, the enlightened
intendant of Cochabamba, which formed the vast eastern part
of Charcas to the borders of Brazil, had also received a personal
letter from Carlota. But Viedma had realized the intentions of the
princess-regent and his answer, while polite, stated that he was
not authorized "to submit to a foreign country although it claimed
the title of regent""' until the Spanish Bourbons were freed. Such
should have been the reply of Mox6 and Pizarro. The naivete of the
presidential forces did have a grain of common sense. After all,
Carlota was the nearest relative of the imprisoned royal father and
royal son. Might not Carlota's claim be in accordance with the
legalistic syllogism that the radical doctors had constructed to
persuade the audiencia not to recognize Seville? What the audi-
encia, Mox6, and Pizarro could not realize, but the radical doctors
of Charcas, always shrewd and alert, understood clearly, was that
the new situation was a great threat to the final success of their
Machiavellian move. It might demolish their hopes of making the
audiencia an independent junta, from which they would later
wrest the power. It was time to act.

The radicals' syllogisms of legality or careta were based on the
theory that the colonies belonged to the Spanish crown. The king
could never alienate these lands to someone else, as Ferdinand and
his father Charles were forced to do. This is just what Carlota
claimed. Since father and son were held by Napoleon, she, as the
daughter of Charles IV and the sister of Ferdinand VII, was the
guardian of the colonies until one of the two imprisoned kings
could return to assume his usurped throne. Therefore, Carlota with
her proclamations had demolished the usefulness of the syllogism
of the careta so careful constructed by the radicals for the benefit
of the archconservative audiencia. If the plans of the radicals to
force out the president and the archbishop were intended to suc-
ceed, tempo and direction must be increased and changed at once.
The best way to check the ambitions of Carlota in Charcas
was to exploit with energy the charge that those who favored her
claim were traitors, as they intended to hand over the colonies to
a foreign country. The radicals used this diligently to stir the
masses and to force the audiencia to take a firm stand against the
claim of Carlota. In December, 1808, a whispering campaign was
started, accusing Mox6 and Pizarro of wanting to give Charcas to
the Portuguese. The audiencia concurred, branding the archbishop
as having become a victim of the "seductive words" of Carlota,
intending to "separate these colonies from our monarch," and saying
that the president was "managed" by the archbishop.62 It was a
campaign of subversion. But the claims of Carlota could have been
disputed by more honest means.
It was also said that Carlota was really disbarred from any
claim to the Spanish throne by the Salic Law of Felipe V of 1713,
which disqualified females from governing Spain. The abrogation
of the law by Charles IV in 1789, kept secret by the royal family
because of possible opposition, was known only by a handful of
favorites of the crown. Archbishop Mox6 was one of those very
few since he was a personal friend of the powerful Manuel Godoy,
Charles IV's great minister and the queen's paramour. Naturally
the issue was brought up by the anti-Carlota forces. Mox6 insisted
that the Salic Law was void,63 but his only proof was his argument
that he had been favored with being told this carefully guarded
secret. Yet the radicals preferred to exploit the treason charge to
its full extent rather than use the Salic Law. It was much more
effective and, after all, everyone in Charcas knew that Mox6 was close


to Godoy and that often he knew more of the intimate doings of
the crown and its ministers than even the highest officials in the
viceroyalty, including the viceroy. One thing was certain: the
campaign against the presidential forces had to be increased.
It is difficult to know exactly what happened among the radicals,
since their actions were sub rosa. The first phase had consisted of
constructing for the audiencia the syllogism of legality in its oppo-
sition to Seville. The effectiveness of this syllogism was weakened
by Carlota's unexpected claims. The second phase, the fight against
the Portuguese claims, was directed at maintaining a grip on the
narrow-minded audiencia and stirring up the people against the
popular president and archbishop by circulating the rumor that
both men were selling Charcas to Carlota. The immediate goal
was to overthrow the presidential forces, thereby making the
audiencia semi-independent. The ultimate goal was to eliminate
the audiencia and to lead the forces of independence in Spanish
South America. This was justified by the revolutionary syllogism
to which they subscribed secretly.
Strictly speaking, the radicals did not have an accepted leader;
they amounted to scarcely more than fifty persons.64 But three
men stand out. Jaime Zudafiez, attorney of the audiencia in the
department for the defense of the poor, was responsible for influ-
encing the audiencia, which hardly suspected his revolutionary
ideas. His brother, Manuel, occupied a key position in the cabildo
and the university cloister, and led these important bodies to the
antipresidential camp. The Zudafiez brothers were in crucial places
and credit for the success of the radicals' plan was due mostly to
their brilliant maneuvers.65 The third man, Bernardo Monteagudo,
was a talented conspirator, writer, and theoretician of humble origin,
and probably conducted the whispering campaign. He joined the
attorneys staff of the audiencia in 1809, being assigned to the staff
of the department for the defense of the poor. Monteagudo also
was an influential member of the university cloister. He was gradu-
ated from the university and academy in 1808 and the vociferous
oidor, Ussoz y Mozi, supervised his thesis.66 All three, with the aid
of their confreres, began to step up their conspiracy as the new
year started. The plan was to force the president into a position
in which, out of sheer anger, he would act with force against the
audiencia, thereby justifying his removal. It was a campaign to
needle the pacific president and the archbishop.


The conspirators began with good fortune. The regente-oidor,
Boeto, who on November 12 had the verbal battle with Goyeneche
and was still upset over the insults of the delegate, had soon after-
ward a heart attack of which he died on December 6.67 Naturally
the radicals did not lose time in beginning to whisper that Goye-
neche, the man of duplicity and the friend of Pizarro and Mox6,
was the real murderer of Boeto. The regente's death was a heavy
blow to the audiencia and its allies. Pizarro and Mox6 had enough
common sense to realize that the Carlota question had slowly under-
mined their high reputations in Chuquisaca, but they still believed
that any move that would cement the unity of the Spanish crown
was the best defense against possible anarchy. In order to regain
some support, they now looked to the powerful university. On
January 12, Pizarro asked the university cloister to give him a vote
of confidence. Forty-eight doctors gathered together, many of
them radicals.68 By an overwhelming vote led by the Zudafiez
brothers and Monteagudo the cloister rejected Pizarro's wishes and
condemned in harsh words the maneuvers of Carlota of Portugal.
On January 19 the cloister was again called into session, and the
attendance of all the members was requested. This time, ninety-
two doctors came and gave their signed approval to the minutes
of the meeting held seven days earlier.69 The presidential forces
had suffered another defeat.
After this success, the radicals swung into greater action. Manuel
Zudafiez, through some of the discontented priests in Cochabamba
who hated Mox6 for his moral fervor, had gotten hold of a letter
the archbishop had written to a faithful priest in Cochabamba. In
this letter Mox6 had complained about his trouble with some
malicious elements in Chuquisaca whom he called "seductive hypo-
crites" engaged in "filthy intrigues."70 In late April, Manuel Zuda-
fiez convinced the cabildo to request the audiencia to censure Mox6
for such disrespect. In the first days of May the fiscal of the audi-
encia began to hear testimony to discover the validity of the
charges.71 The Zudafiez brothers worked hand in hand. Again, in
the middle of May, the cabildo, at the instigation of Manuel, re-
quested the audiencia to investigate the president, since it had come
to their attention that he was going to apprehend many people who
were against him. The audiencia instructed oidor Ussoz y Mozi,
the man who hated Pizarro most, 72 to investigate the case.73
Pizarro felt deeply insulted. Although a convinced pacifist, he

realized that something had to be done. He could not continue
his policy of appeasement. That was just what the radicals had
waited for. On May 20 he had the minutes of the cloister confiscated
and ripped out the pages referring to the meeting of January 12
during which the doctors had denied him a vote of confidence and
had insulted Carlota. Permission to do this had already been
granted in early April by the viceroy, but Pizarro had hesitated
to take such a drastic step. Now Pizarro wanted to show that he
could use energy to fight the opposition. May 20 marks the end
of his policy of hesitation and appeasement. The next day, although
it was a holiday, the Feast of Pentecost, Ussoz y Mozi publicly
invited anyone who wished to appear before his one-man committee
to accuse Pizarro of misconduct.74 Besides, Pizarro was informed
by his trusted friends that Colonel Juan Antonio Alvarez de Arenales,
a pureblood Spaniard in charge of the Spanish militia in nearby
Yamparaez, decided not to depart for his vacation to Salta. It was
rumored that in case of a clash between the forces of the audiencia
and the president, Arenales would support the audiencia.
In view of this grave news Pizarro, on May 23, decided to
request the intendant of Potosi, Francisco Paula Sanz, to send him
troops. This became known to the opposition on May 24 and it was
considered of a serious nature. Therefore, that very night, the
revolutionaries, made up of the audiencia, part of the university
cloister, and the cabildo, met in an urgent meeting in the house
of the regente, Jose de la Iglesia. It was decided that the united
forces of the audiencia, cabildo, and cloister would arm themselves
and patrol the town. It was also determined that the audiencia in
real acuerdo would depose the president the next day.75
On the morning of May 25 Pizarro was informed of the open
insurrection of the audiencia and its allies. He ordered the arrest
of the executive staff of the audiencia, oidores, regents, and the
fiscal, plus the employed attorney for the poor, Jaime Zudafiez.
Seemingly Pizarro was aware that Jaime Zudafiez was one of the
moving spirits of the rebellion. Pizarro based his action on the
contention that the audiencia had violated a certain section of the
Laws of the Indies (recopilaciones) which forbade the audiencia to
investigate the viceroy and the president.76 The opposition was
informed of the impending arrests, and went into hiding. By seven
o'clock at night only Jaime Zudafiez was located and arrested.
He was conducted by six soldiers and one officer through the


streets to a barrack in the center of town. All along the road
Zudafiez was crying out loudly so that everyone in the street and
the nearby streets could hear, "Citizens, they are taking me to the
gallows."7 Although Zudafiez was not abused by the soldiers, his
screaming was calculated to incite the people. It produced an
astounding effect. Soon the streets of the small town of Chuquisaca
became alive; the moon was full and as bright as day. In view of
the agitation, Zudafiez was taken to the president's house. The
mob, loud, uncontrolled, some firing into the air, slowly began to
march toward the president's house. The cry, "Viva Fernando! Viva
Fernando!" resounded in many places. Suddenly the hidden mem-
bers of the audiencia, cabildo, and cloister were found in the streets.
The revolution had started. May 25, 1809, marks the beginning of
the War of Independence in Charcas. Yet few who took part in the
drama of that day realized it.
The mob yelled in front of the house of Pizarro. Evidently
only a single shot was fired by a soldier who guarded the house.
Furiously, the people forced the heavy gate, sacked the place, and
apprehended the elderly president. Fortunately some radicals were
able to wrest him from the wrath of the people and took him to a
room at the university where he was put under arrest. The arch-
bishop, after failing to calm tempers, became panicky and escaped
toward the village of Yamparaez. He was terrified, trembling, and
pale. Father Jorge Benavente, who accompanied Mox6 in his
escape, was forced to carry him on his shoulder. Feeling cold and
tired, they stopped at an Indian hut where the Indian and his wife
politely offered the two men some food and warm drinks. They ate
some puree of red corn but Mox6, unaccustomed to such food, was
unable to digest it and started to vomit. Since the corn was red,
Mox6 became panic-stricken because he believed that he was spit-
ting blood.78
After deposing the president the audiencia assumed all powers
in the name of Ferdinand VII, at four o'clock in the morning of
May 26, 1809; they were only nominally responsible to the viceroy
in Buenos Aires and directly responsible to the imprisoned king.
Immediately, the new colonial government of the audiencia took
several important steps. It appointed Colonel Arenales as the over-
all commandant of Charcas, and requested him to organize a strong
militia.79 Arenales was a perplexing man. He was a peninsular
but being less narrow-minded than the oidores, he realized that

the War of Independence had started. Yet his thinking had nothing
in common with that of the radicals, who wanted separation because
of their inferior status as criollos. Seemingly, Arenales honestly
believed that the independence of America was inevitable. He
later established the most distinguished and the longest record as
a veteran of sixteen years of fighting in the War of Independence.80
A further step by the audiencia was to invite Archbishop Mox6
to return and assume his office. Arenales, who disliked Mox6,
opposed this step. The audiencia realized that the people still loved
him. The courier located the suffering Mox6 abandoned in an
Indian hamlet on his way to Potosi. He was delighted to return,
and he kissed and embraced the courier.81 But the most important
step the audiencia took was to send delegates to the several larger
cities in Charcas to forestall pro-Pizarro elements beginning a
reactionary movement. As the audiencia was unaware that it was
really in the hands of such cunning revolutionaries as the Zudafiez
brothers, it appointed the delegates proposed by these advisers.
The delegates were all radical doctors. Monteagudo left for Potosi
and Tupiza, Joaquin Lemoyne was sent to the vast province of
Santa Cruz, a certain Manuel Arce went to Oruro, and Tomas de
Alcerreca, in the company of a certain Pulido (first name unknown),
went to Cochabamba.82 In addition to carrying official instructions
from the Spanish audiencia they had another mission given them
by their revolutionary leaders. They were to incite other radicals
in those places to repeat what had been done in Chuquisaca under
the facade, or careta, of "Viva Fernando, the Audiencia is our
junta, not Seville, down with Carlota and her traitors." This indi-
cates that the radicals were dispersed all over the audiencia, and
even beyond, as far as Buenos Aires. How they really acted, how
they were organized precisely, remains unknown; only the general
outline can be deduced from documents. But one thing is sure:
their headquarters was in Chuquisaca and from there came the
leadership. Their forces in other places were relatively weak, as
all delegates failed in their secret mission with the exception of
one city that rebelled.
The man appointed as delegate to go to La Paz was probably
the most radical of the revolutionary cell in Chuquisaca. Mariano
Michel, a graduate of San Francisco Xavier,83 was of a rebellious
nature, and had the gift of stirring the masses. He was not an
advocate of complicated political theories. It is probable that the

radical lawyers were divided into two factions: a moderate one
which wished to continue at all costs the policy of the careta as
long as it was advantageous, and a more aggressive section which
wanted to abandon the legalistic syllogism as soon as possible and
come out publicly for separation from Spain. One could suspect
that the Zudafiez brothers belonged to the moderate faction and
that Monteagudo led the aggressive section. As a matter of fact,
in January, 1809, another one of the anonymous pasquines or
caramillos was circulated in Chuquisaca. This latest one purported
to be a dialogue between Atahualpa, emperor of the Inca nation,
and Ferdinand VII, who met on the Elysian Fields. Ferdinand
complained bitterly about Napoleon's usurpation of his crown. To
this Atahualpa answered that the French emperor was merely doing
what Ferdinand's forefathers had done to him, Atahualpa. Both
engaged in a long philosophical discussion. Ferdinand elaborated
the syllogism of legality and Atahualpa spoke for the innate rights
of the native Americans, thereby identifying his thoughts with the
revolutionary syllogism. Throughout the pages of the dialogue
Church dogma, philosophy, and Western revolutionary thoughts
are well blended. The discussion of Atahualpa and Ferdinand is
a perfect synthesis of the intellectual currents that motivated the
unrest in Charcas in 1808 and 1809. Monteagudo is believed to be
the author of the dialogue. The words of Atahualpa represent
Monteagudo's real feelings and they portray a true radicalism. In
one of his final sentences, Atahualpa said to Ferdinand, "If I could
transmigrate from here to my Kingdom I would issue a proclama-
tion saying: .Destroy the terrible chains of slavery and begin
to enjoy the sweet pleasure of independence."84 Monteagudo was
a radical who wanted immediate action, to replace the cara for the
careta, and who gathered around him few followers. Michel was
one of them.
Michel's official mission was to inform the intendant of La Paz
that if he knew of anyone favoring the claims of Carlota he should
arrest him and send him to be judged before the Audiencia in
Chuquisaca. His secret mission was to see whether he could con-
vince the radical doctors, alumni of San Francisco, to repeat what
had been done in Chuquisaca and apprehend the intendant, Tadeo
Davila, and the bishop, Remigio de la Santa y Ortega, accusing
them of sympathy with Carlota's scheme.85 Once successful, the
cabildo should take over the power and recognize the absolute


sovereignty of the audiencia as the depository of the power of the
imprisoned king. In a word, they would play the careta all over
again, using the cabildo as the front.
Michel immediately went to see his friend, Jose Antonio Medina,
the parish priest of Sicasica, not far from La Paz. Medina was
the most extreme radical of all the generation of 1809. He, too, was
a graduate of San Francisco and had taught there for a time after
his graduation. Young Monteagudo had been one of his favorite
students.86 Medina promised to see to it that the radicals in La
Paz obeyed the instructions of Chuquisaca. He kept his promise.
On July 16, 1809, the cabildo deposed the intendant and the bishop.
A few days later the revolutionaries superseded the cabildo and
created a new body called the Junta Tuitiva, of which Pedro Do-
mingo Murillo, a more moderate and distinguished radical, was
made president. The idea of creating a new government made up
of the radicals was Medina's. He and his followers in one stroke
had abolished the careta and the syllogism of legality and had
come out openly for the revolutionary syllogism.87 The proclama-
tion of the junta constituted the first open demand for independence
from Spain; it said, "It is now time to overthrow the [Spanish]
yoke. ., it is now time to organize a new government based on
the interests of our fatherland. it is now time to declare the
principle of liberty in these miserable colonies acquired without
any title and kept by tyranny and injustice."88 The movement in
La Paz had taken a different turn from the one in Chuquisaca.
Medina and Michel, probably with the advice of Monteagudo,
had quickly realized their goal and put aside the elaborate scheme
of the careta. This proved to be the downfall of the whole genera-
tion of 1809.
It was a great mistake. The time was not yet ripe to announce
publicly the desire for independence. The movement in La Paz
collapsed due to the fact that it soon produced internal dissension;
the moderates deserted the cause. The people were unwilling to
follow the lead against Spain. And from Cuzco came Goyeneche,
the newly appointed president of this audiencia, with an army,
and crushed the revolt mercilessly. He took stern measures and
many of the leaders were condemned to death. They were hanged
in the middle of the square. Others were sentenced to the galleys
or to hard labor in the mines. Hardly anyone escaped the mighty
hand of Goyeneche. Murillo, the nominal head of the revolution,


was hanged; Medina, the real leader, because of his status as a
priest, got a life sentence. The elaborate scheme of the radical
doctors was destroyed in a single stroke, by the single mistake of
discarding too soon the careta for the cara. Michel, Medina, and
perhaps Monteagudo were responsible for this. The Audiencia in
Chuquisaca, caught in the web of the careta, finally saw its mistake.
In Chuquisaca the rule of the audiencia had continued. Are-
nales had raised an army of about one thousand men from the
countryside.89 The audiencia had been able, by a combination of
threat and persuasion, to induce Intendant Sanz of Potosi to give
up his idea of marching on Chuquisaca with the intention of re-
storing Pizarro to the presidency.90 The audiencia and Arenales had
wooed the new viceroy in Buenos Aires, Baltasar Hidalgo de
Cisneros, to accept the new order in Charcas, accusing the ex-
president of all kinds of crimes. But Cisneros appointed a new
president, Vicente Nieto, to assume office in Charcas and investigate
the strange events that had taken place. Arenales wanted to refuse
to receive Nieto. As a matter of fact, Arenales wanted to march
with his popular army toward Potosi, conquer the town, and then
move into Salta and from there advance on Buenos Aires.91
But in view of the amazing news from La Paz the oidores began
to see their mistakes, and realized that they had only been a tool
of unscrupulous elements. Therefore, on September 27, 1809, the
audiencia decided to receive Nieto with all honor. Pizarro was
released from his prison and given permission to return to his
house. On November 8 Nieto issued a proclamation from Jujuy,
saying that he was coming to Chuquisaca with an army and hoped
to have the necessary cooperation from the audiencia. On October
13 Arenales agreed reluctantly and ordered that his militia safe-
guard the entrance of Nieto's army. On December 21 Nieto
announced from the village of Cuchiguasi that he and his five
hundred men would enter Chuquisaca in two days, December
23.92 Nieto was received without incident. There had been only
one condition that the repentant oidores asked from Nieto when
he was on his way to Chuquisaca: that Goyeneche, the man they
had scorned, would not move with his formidable army from La
Paz to Chuquisaca. Nieto agreed; and on November 10 he wrote
a letter to Goyeneche in which he thanked him for his fine coopera-
tion in suppressing the movement in La Paz. But at the same time,
he informed him that his services were not needed in Chuquisaca


or any other place in the Audiencia of Charcas, as he was assuming
office as president of Charcas.93
Immediately, Nieto began to investigate the past events in
Chuquisaca. He acted with much greater tact and moderation
than Goyeneche had in La Paz. But even so, he asked permission
from the viceroy to depose several oidores and expel them from
Charcas. The viceroy approved the request. Seemingly only Ussoz
y Mozi and Ballesteros were sent away. What happened to the
rest of the oidores remains a mystery, since in 1810 the colonial
Spanish government in Buenos Aires was overthrown.94 It is known
that Arenales was removed and sent to Lima for trial. Several of
the radicals, including the Zudafiez brothers and Monteagudo, were
imprisoned. Manuel died in prison. Jaime and Monteagudo later
escaped.95 By the beginning of 1810 Goyeneche, with sternness,
and Nieto, with moderation, had destroyed the whole generation
of 1809. Yet not all was lost. On May 25, 1810, exactly one year
after the imprisonment of Pizarro, the radicals in Buenos Aires,
among whom was an alumnus of the University of San Francisco,
Mariano Moreno, an early member of the radical generation born
in Chuquisaca, repeated more or less what had been done in
Chuquisaca. This time, however, it succeeded. Although the radical
generation failed in its home town and home provinces, it was
successful in Buenos Aires. From that city efforts would have to
be made to free the birthplace of the ideas which had helped to
liberate it. Could the victorious radicals in Buenos Aires do it?
Unexpected help in Charcas would be forthcoming.
The unrest in Charcas had somewhat stirred the masses of
Indians and mestizos. They were used for the advantage of both
rival parties. Arenales had organized a militia with the people of
the countryside, and so had the revolutionaries in La Paz. Such
royalists as Goyeneche, Nieto, and Sanz had also used the indi-
genous elements to enlarge their armies of repression. With the
defeat of the radicals at the hands of Goyeneche and Nieto calm
returned to the provinces.
But with some groups, mostly caciques (Indian chieftains),
small landlords, and village bureaucrats, the lust for adventure
stirred by the agitated year of 1809 continued unabated. Arenales
was able to escape from Peru. He went back to Charcas to live
in hiding in the countryside, and with the help of these elements
he began fighting the Spanish authorities as a sort of guerrilla


leader.96 When Paula Sanz, intendant of Potosi, was organizing an
army to liberate Pizarro, he requested the help of the Indian
cacique, Martin Herrera y Chairari of Chayanta, to come with his
Indians to aid his army. But the Indians of Chayanta hated the
cruel cacique. The alcalde of the village of Moromoro, a criollo by
the name of Manuel Ascencio Padilla, who was a friend of Mon-
teagudo's, and who had an extremely well-educated and aggressive
wife, Dofia Juana Azurduy de Padilla, stirred the Indians to disobey
the caciques order. The Indians decapitated Herrera y Chairari.
The Padilla couple and their army of Indians supported the Are-
nales militia. When Nieto became president he ordered the arrest
of Padilla. But he and his wife, together with the Indians, disap-
peared into the mountainous countryside.97 Thus another irregular
unit was born. These bands, unleashed by the unrest of 1809 and
by punitive expeditions of Goyeneche and Nieto, were an unex-
pected inheritance begot by the generation of 1809. They came to
be known as the guerrillas of the War of Independence. They
maintained the fight for separation from Spain which started on
May 25, 1809, in Chuquisaca.98
The long and intelligently prepared movement of 1809 collapsed
as a result of the fiasco in La Paz. Most of its leaders died, a few
were exiled to faraway lands. Yet their action was inherited by two
new movements which kept alive the flame which was ignited by
the Zudafiez brothers, Monteagudo, Medina, Michel, Murillo, and
many others. The successful revolution in Buenos Aires was partly
inspired by their example, and the guerrilla leaders were an unfore-
seen result of their action. The guerrillas and Buenos Aires would
have to continue the fight against the Spanish authorities in Charcas.

hafte4t 2


One historian gives the exact number as one
hundred and two.' Another Bolivian writer even goes so far as to
say that two partisan leaders deserted during the fight and nine
survived the war.2 Any exact statistics are useless and really sense-
less. It is simply impossible to know the exact number of guerrilla
leaders. But the serious Bartolome Mitre has rightly pointed out
six strong points which, under the leadership of six guerrillas,
seriously jeopardized the Spanish hegemony in Upper Peru. These
were the six most important and extensive republiquetas.3
Upper Peru in those days was accessible from two main
directions: from Lower Peru or from northern Argentina. In the
east were the impenetrable jungles of the Amazon Basin and the
plains of Santa Cruz that merged into Brazil. In the west the
Atacama Desert was an obstacle to reaching the Pacific coast.
Therefore nearly all movement was north and south. In the heart
of Charcas six towns flourished: Potosi, Chuquisaca, Oruro, La
Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz. Of these Potosi was the most
important for Spain because of its riches, and Chuquisaca was the
capital where the audiencia was located. La Paz and Oruro were
mining centers; Cochabamba and Santa Cruz were of agricultural
importance. The six republiquetas were wedged between Charcas
and the neighboring lands, and among the six important cities.
On the shores of Lake Titicaca the priest, Ildefonso de las
Mufiecas, obstructed communications between Upper and Lower
Peru. He operated from the village of Ayata in the partido of


Larecaja. In the south Vicente Camargo ruled another republiqueta,
with headquarters in Cinti. This represented a threat to Cotagaita,
one of the strongest fortresses in Upper Peru. This fortress pro-
tected Potosi from the southern route which the Argentine expe-
ditionary forces took on their march to liberate Charcas. Camargo
held the door open for these Argentinians as Mufiecas closed the
door to the Spanish armies from Lima, Cuzco, and Arequipa. Some-
what to the west of Camargo's jurisdiction was another large
partisan republic lying between the Grande and Pilcomayo rivers.


Its center was Laguna,4 and it obeyed the command of the Padilla
couple. This republiqueta neutralized the capital, Chuquisaca, and
kept a road open from Argentina to the capital. In the east was
the most extensive republiqueta, that under the famous Ignacio
Warnes, with its capital at Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Although the
largest, this one was the least important from a strategic point of
view. It neither guarded nor opened the entrance to anyone. Yet
it protected the eastern flanks of almost all the other republiquetas
and was a haven for escape and retreat for them in time of defeat.
In the center two fairly extensive republiquetas were like two
emboli in the very heart of Upper Peru, putting the communications
among the six big towns at their mercy. One was under the cele-
brated Arenales, with its center in Mizque and Vallegrande. This
threatened and often cut off the roads connecting Cochabamba,
Chuquisaca, and Santa Cruz. The other was the partisan republic
of Ayopaya in the center of Bolivia's mountain region. From its
confines the guerrilla forces could dominate the roads between
Oruro, La Paz, and Cochabamba. The montoneras of both of these
central regions had escape routes. From the Arenales domain it
was easy to go to Warnes' republic, since the two were adjacent.
The Ayopaya republiqueta, on its eastern frontier, lost itself in
the dense jungles of Mojos.
These were the six great republiquetas. There was one more
of great strategic importance but of unstable nature, and with no
one outstanding commander. This was the factional jurisdiction of
Chayanta which, when active, dominated the roads connecting
Potosi, Oruro, Chuquisaca, and Cochabamba.5 But since it was
encircled by these four towns, strong points of the Spanish army,
it had no escape route and therefore was only of a temporary
nature, appearing and disappearing in accordance with the Loyalist
impact upon its domain.
However, these were not the only guerrilla republics. There
were many more of minor extent and importance. From Camargo's
and the Padillas' jurisdictions down to Tarija numerous factions
kept the line to the United Provinces open. In the neighborhood
of the valley of Tarija important guerrilla commanders such as
Jose Fernandez Campero, Ram6n and Manuel Rojas, Francisco
Uriondo, and Eustaquio Mendez were actively in command of
republiquetas.6 In the eastern territories, in addition to Warnes,
numerous partisan leaders were practically independent. It is as

impossible to determine where one republiqueta started and another
ended, as it is to determine the lines between Patriot and Loyalist
territory. Furthermore, there were smaller republiquetas within
larger ones. Sometimes minor factional leaders were under the
command of major guerrilla leaders, while at other times they
acted independently and drew together only in times of emergency.
Usually one leader did not know what the others were doing, and
cared little. Commander Arenales complained vociferously about
the neighboring commander, Warnes, who nearly always refused
to cooperate.7 Yet the six major jurisdictions, or republiquetas,
gave the Spaniards the greatest trouble. They isolated Upper Peru
and dominated the communications among the main centers of
Charcas. In 1816 they had become a major threat to effective
Spanish domination of Upper Peru. The Royalists finally attained
their goal of destroying the republiquetas in 1816. Mufiecas, Ca-
margo, Padilla, and Warnes fell in battle, and Arenales had to flee
to Argentina. Only the republiqueta of Ayopaya survived the
impact and remained undefeated throughout the remainder of the
war. On January 29, 1825, the Ayopaya commander, Miguel Lanza,
occupied La Paz before Marshal Sucre and his liberating army
entered the town.
The epic of Ayopaya was extremely obscure. As this guerrilla
republic was isolated by lofty mountains and bordered by impene-
trable jungles, little news of the events in it reached the outside.
Historians claimed that Ayopaya existed and was heroic because
of its leader, Miguel Lanza-known today as pelayo boliviano. He
created this partisan territory and from it fought until the very
end of the war. Lanza was given credit for having threatened the
roads to the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, and Oruro.8 Lanza
survived the war, was then integrated into the Bolivarian army,
and became a trusted lieutenant of President Sucre. He was the
sole guerrilla leader to take part in the foundation and consolidation
of Bolivia. He gave his life for Sucre in 1828, and was one of the
few associates and friends of Sucre who remained loyal to the last,
when the president was betrayed by unscrupulous supporters.
Lanza's career as a guerrilla is quite different from what it has
been generally believed to be. This can be ascertained from a
fascinating diary kept by a simple drummer of the Ayopaya guerrilla
unit.9 When the soldier's narrative opens, in 1816, Miguel Lanza
was not in Ayopaya. Only on February 3, 1821, did he make his


appearance in the republiqueta with the appointment by his
superiors in Argentina as the "principal commander of the in-
terior."10 In cold blood he killed the previous commander of the
republic, Jos6 Manuel Chinchilla, a close friend of his who had
fought the Spaniards valiantly for many years. The diary ends in
1821.11 It must be assumed that from that time on Miguel Lanza
was the chief of the republiqueta. But to give him full credit, he
was not new to the Ayopaya region in 1821, and very likely had
been the original organizer of this factional territory. Already in
1812 he was engaged in fighting the Spaniards. On September 4,
1812, the audiencia condemned him to ten years imprisonment for
his revolutionary activities, "fighting against the King's army."12
In that same year Lanza was in jail together with Chinchilla, the
man he killed nine years later in order to take his place. Both
escaped; Lanza was naked, and his friend and fellow prisoner,
Chinchilla, provided him with clothes.13 From 1812 to 1821 Lanza's
activities are quite obscure. It might be that in those years he
set the foundations for the guerrilla faction of Ayopaya. After the
defeat of the third auxiliary army under Jose Rondeau in 1815,
Lanza left Upper Peru with the retreating Argentineans, not to
return until six years later. During the most critical years of the
war, therefore, Lanza was not even in Upper Peru.14 It was Eusebio
Lira, Santiago Farjado, and Jos6 Manuel Chinchilla who were
respectively the commanders of the Ayopaya republic.
The republiqueta of Ayopaya extended about 250 miles from
north to south and about 125 miles from east to west. The land
was unusually rough, varying in elevation from 3,300 feet at some
places to 18,000 feet at others.15 No particular town served as per-
manent headquarters, but such small mountain villages as Palca,
Machaca, and Inquisivi were the core of the partisan republic.
Palca had only a single, muddy street and a few dilapidated houses,
but it did have a spacious church and its drinking water was good.16
Although small, such villages as these were the heart of the republic,
and from their confines the montoneros dashed to the very limits
of Oruro, Cochabamba, and La Paz. Indeed, Oruro once nearly
fell into partisan hands. The traveler who today flies from La Paz
to Cochabamba or vice versa-a well-established international air
lane-flies directly over what was the Ayopaya guerrilla country.
Those who have gone over it know that this is a most fascinating
and breath-taking flight. Underneath lies very rough, but most


beautiful, terrain. It includes sharp mountains, narrow, fertile
valleys, the magnificence of the eternal snow-capped peaks of the
Cordillera Real, and then the fearful drop into the jungles. In
itself this region is like a microscopic reproduction of the whole
world. Both everlasting snow and bananas are seen within its
confines, and only at short distance from each other.17 When the
weather is clear and the plane lifts itself over the mountains instead
of flying in the narrow passes, one can see snow and jungle at the
same time. It was then, as it is now, a region where Indian blood
flowed in everybody's veins. There were very few whites, many
pure Indians that spoke Aymara or Quechua, and much mixed
blood.18 The people were hardy, for the roughness of the territory
molded men to fit their environment. And the cleavages of the
social classes had not penetrated into its midst.
Such was the place in which the guerrilla republic of Ayopaya
existed, and about which only vague or erroneous information was
available until the diary of Vargas, a soldier of that faction, was
located. Why did he write this diary? He tells us simply because
he "was curious to do this."19 Vargas is a common name, and author
Vargas does not tell his readers what his first name was. He was
the main drummer, and he was a native of the region, from the
little mountain village of Moosa (or Mohaza). It was a wretched
little town of narrow and dirty streets, with an unattractive plaza
and a run-down church, in the middle of a canyon. People in
Moosa took their scanty produce to sell in distant Oruro.20 Vargas
was no Indian, but came from a fairly well-established mestizo
family which had some land. One of his brothers was a priest. The
discoverer of the drummer's diary, Gunnar Mendoza, has spent
many hours searching documents of the early period of independ-
ence for a better identification of Vargas, since from the diary it
can be inferred that he survived the war. Moreover, in his reading
of Bolivian documents of 1825 to 1828 the present writer has also
looked out for this particular Vargas, but has found no tangible
evidence. It remains that the author of the best existing primary
source of information about the War of Independence in Upper
Peru is a Vargas from Moosa,21 and that is all that is known
about him.
Vargas knew how to write, but he probably had a very limited
education. His diary is hard to read and difficult to translate. His
vocabulary was extensive,22 with all the colloquialisms of the region.


He was undoubtedly a brilliant man with a superb speaking ability,
and he wrote just as he spoke. There is absolutely no syntax in
his composition. His style is intimate and frank, and it fits into the
whole milieu of the era, region, and fighting band.
There were no dull times in the life of the faction. It is there-
fore fitting that a certain section of the diary should be given here.
In order to be true to the author, direct translation would be the
most satisfactory way of passing on the diary. But because of the
peculiarity of the style such is hardly possible, for it would mean
writing without any syntax. A modernistic style would spoil the
whole tone and setting of the diary. Therefore the following pages
are not a translation but a sort of edited version, maintaining the
tone and simplicity of the original.
The general opinion is that the faction was there to fight the
Spaniards. Indeed this they did, but not all the time. The diary
verifies this. On November 5, 1817, Captain Eugenio Moreno, with
his company and about one hundred Indians, all of them stationed
between Moosa and Leque, went to Paria. Moreno had not received
any order to go there. Very early in the morning of November
17, they reached Paria and many of them went to the house of a
respected citizen of the village, Eugenio Flores, whose birthday
was being celebrated. Hearing all the noise that was being made,
an honest citizen of the town, Anselmo Carpio, of "patriotic leaning,"
went to join the party since he had heard the toasts of "Long live
the fatherland." But as soon as he entered they shot him and left
him dead. Then the partisans left the party and took as prisoners
whomever they found in the streets. The next day at nine o'clock
the unit left the village, but not before the Indians had sacked
and destroyed whatever they wished. The unit took fourteen pris-
oners with them-innocent people whom they had taken from the
streets. On the way one of the prisoners requested permission from
a sergeant to step out of line for a while. When Captain Moreno
saw this he had the prisoner killed. On the way home Moreno
ordered two more of the prisoners to be shot. But Laureano Choque
kept close watch over the village mayor whom they had arrested,
"very much an enemy of the fatherland and decorated by the
King."23 Choque sent him to Cabari where Commander Lira had
him shot to death. On November 19 Moreno and his band returned
to Leque. The next day the enemy, one hundred and fifty men
strong from Oruro, met them. A little skirmish took place and the


enemy had to retreat, burning some houses and killing five Indians.
During this time Commander Lira had seen to it that a certain
Barrientos from the hacienda of Manata was captured and hanged
because this individual had helped in the intrigue that had killed
Lira's father. On December 1, Lira left Inquisivi and went to
Machaca, accompanied by drummer Vargas, writer of the diary.
Commander Lira ordered Moreno to appear and he reprimanded
him very severely for having gone to Paria and sacked that town
for absolutely no reason, and for having killed Carpio and three
prisoners without even inquiring whether these people were Pa-
triots or friends of the king. Lira asked Moreno to tell him who
had ordered him to do all this, who had told him to sack the town,
who had told him to take old people prisoners. The commander
told Moreno that such behavior would make their "cause hateful"
to the people, and if news of such behavior would reach the ears
of the superior commanders in Salta and Buenos Aires, what would
they think of them? Their superiors would say that Captain Moreno
had gone to Paria without orders, that he had destroyed and killed,
and that he had taken peaceful villagers prisoner. Commander
Lira continued saying that he would not know how to explain to
the people, to his superiors, and to the whole continent such be-
havior of his troops. Lira said that everybody might well say that
they were not troops of "the fatherland," but a raving band.24
Commander Lira had Moreno put under heavy guard as a pris-
oner. He then called half of his grenadiers to Machaca, because
he had gone there with only eight men. Lira also wished that no
officer should come to Machaca because he knew they would press
for the freedom of Moreno, who was a likable fellow. But even
so a lot of people asked forgiveness for the prisoner. These included
Colonel Buenaventura Zarate, Doctor Don Manuel Ampuero, the
parish priest, and many others. There were many letters from the
respectable citizens25 of the neighborhood and from the officers.
Lira's mistress,26 Dofia Maria Martinez, also interceded for Moreno.
Lira would not agree with them because he thought that his honor,
the honor of his unit, and 'lastly, the cause of the fatherland" had
been injured.
On December 5, at four o'clock in the morning, Moreno disap-
peared. Lira had put him in a room, forbidden visitors, tightly
closed the door, and put a heavy guard before it. The prisoner
escaped with the help of his padrinos and Lira's mistress. They



had helped him through an old stone-filled window. When Com-
mander Lira heard of the break he was so upset that he "nearly
killed himself." He was very angry at everybody and wept. Then
he took his horse and galloped away to the house of his mother in
Moosa, about thirty miles away. At night he returned and called
for the guards, but they had escaped too. Angrier than ever, he
left for Palca. He was so furious, he would not eat. On December
7, he reappeared in a somewhat better mood and requested food.
Then the commander decided to call a staff meeting of all the
officers and available friends. The padrinos of Moreno told Lira
that everything should be resolved with reflection and with the
thought in mind of "Thou shalt love thy neighbor." They added
that everybody knew that Lira was not responsible for the Paria
massacre, that Moreno had gone there on his own without any
superior orders. The parish priest27 then added that everything was
governed by God, that He had made everything, and that God has
everything happen because He wants it so. He continued that since
God had permitted Moreno to escape He must have had a reason,
and one day God would punish him for his deeds. He then termi-
nated his speech by saying that Lira should leave the punishment
of Moreno to God alone.
Following the address of the pastor everybody remained reflec-
tive. Then everyone in the meeting supported the words and
thoughts of Don Ampuero, the priest. After a period of tense
quietness Lira gave a huge sigh and said that he was very sorry
that Moreno had been able to escape but that he, Commander
Lira, had learned a lesson. From then on he would not throw into
prison anyone who had committed a crime. He would instead
catch him and put the delinquent immediately before a firing squad;
he would forget all about putting them in prison, calling a jury,
putting them in the death cell, commuting the sentence, and all
such needless prolongations. Lira continued, saying that all those
who escape do the same nasty thing that Moreno would do: they
go over to the enemy, and the final consequence is that there is
one more enemy to fight. He thought Moreno would tell the armies
of the King everything about his unit, its strength, and what he
wanted to do.
When Lira had terminated his address Colonel Zarate asked
if Lira knew that the accused Moreno had not gone over to the
enemy, but rather was hiding in the territory of this partisan unit.


If Moreno of his own free will would come into the open and ask
forgiveness, would he, Commander Lira, pardon Moreno? Lira
became somewhat thoughtful and then gravely responded that he
would forgive him in "the name of the fatherland."28 Lira thought
that in doing this Moreno would not go over to the enemy. He,
Lira, was convinced, as everybody had assured him, that the people
and his superiors would know that he was not responsible for the
massacre of Paria. The priest then suggested that all this be put
into writing immediately. Commander Lira had to sign a sworn
testimony twice, and then again swear before the Holy Cross to
fulfill his words: that Moreno be pardoned, but that he be retired
from the service, and that ex-Captain Moreno not be permitted to
leave the territory of the partisan republic of Ayopaya. Then
Colonel Zarate offered to vouch for Moreno. After this happy
settlement the grenadiers were called and everybody gave loud
hails to the fatherland and more cheers to the commander for his
generosity. Vargas took his drum from the box which he always
carried with him and beat it to announce the great and happy event.
Then the pardoned man, Moreno, crawled out from beneath
the bed of the priest where he had listened to the whole debate.
Lira told him of the pardon and Moreno, with tears in his eyes,
and kneeling, kissed the commander's hand. He then promised to
return some of the remaining part of the stolen belongings to
Paria, and said, too, that he would tell the names of the soldiers
and Indians who had committed most of the crimes at Paria. Lira
gently shook Moreno's hand, lifted him up, and asked him where
he wished to reside, to which Moreno responded that he preferred
Palca. Everybody then left Machaca for Palca. Moreno went to
the house of Major Marquina, his good friend. On December 9
the whole corps of officers of the unit went to visit the home of
the commander to express their thanks for his having pardoned one
of their fellow officers. They said that everyone thought that Lira
was a very prudent commander. After this Lira accompanied his
officers to the barracks. Major Marquina had the entire division
form a review line, and when Commander Lira entered the camp
Marquina stepped forward and ordered all the soldiers to hail
the great commander and the fatherland. After this everybody
dispersed in a jovial and happy mood.
The night of December 14, 1817, around midnight, Major Pedro
Marquina,29 Captain Agustin Contreras, Lieutenants Santiago


Morales and Pedro Graneros, ex-Captain Eugenio Moreno, First
Lieutenant Antonio Pacheco, and a soldier of the guard of Com-
mander Lira by the name of Jos6 Maria Torres, entered the barracks.
They ordered the whole unit to get up, they relieved the guards,
Morales had his infantry unit so stationed that nobody could get
out and no one was able to get in, and guards were put all around
the barracks and the horse stables. Once the division was lined
up, Major Marquina pulled out a piece of paper and gave the
assembled unit a hard-hitting speech. He called the soldiers "com-
panions in arms" and reminded them of their obligation to defend
the fatherland with their own blood and their own lives. Marquina
told the guerrilla force that they had served without pay, working
extremely hard, many times suffering hunger, defeat, and heavy
casualties. He said that he had never heard complaints from the
troops, and this was rightly expected of them because they had
joined "the sacred cause of our beloved fatherland, independence,
and liberty." He continued that they had lived up to their obliga-
tion and that because of their faith the whole continent now knew
that here, in these regions, were men "devoted to the common
cause of the fatherland." The orator then said bluntly that they
were all fighting for the welfare of the future and not for their
own well-being or adventure, and that probably all those present
in the service of their country would never see "the total triumph
of our sacred opinion." He thought that the sons of those who
were fighting, persecuting, and committing cruelties would enjoy
the "fruit of the tree of liberty"30 for which their unit was fighting.
After this the officer added gravely that the commander under
whom they fought was creating their ruin, that he was destroying
their work, that this man would send them all to the grave, and he,
Marquina, and those who had come to speak to them at this late
hour, would prove this.
Then addressing all the sergeants, corporals, and privates who
knew how to read, the speaker showed them a paper and asked
them if they knew the signature. Everybody glanced tensely at
the paper and all said that it was the handwriting and signature
of their commander, Lira. Then the major read in a loud voice a
letter addressed to Colonel Jose Manuel Rolando of the king's army;
it was dated December 14, 1817, at Palca, county seat of the dis-
trict of Ayopaya. The letter said that the writer, Commander Lira,
had ordered that on the twenty-fifth of December, 1817, Com-


manders Jose Domingo Candarillas31 and Jose Manuel Chinchilla
should attend a meeting in Tapacari. The writer continued that on
the twenty-sixth he would fulfill the stipulated treaty made with the
viceroy, taking upon himself the responsibility that all resistance
in these regions by his unit and his subordinates would cease, and
that no more partisan units would jeopardize the king's army. And
then Lira would be only too glad to give Colonel Rolando an
embrace and greet him as a "loyal vassal of the King." From then
on Lira too would become a faithful servant, as he had intended to
do for a long time, but, since an early defection would end in
failure, he had not taken such a step. Now the time was ripe
and Lira emphasized that Rolando should not doubt for a minute
that he was ready for the defection and surrender which he had
promised a long time ago to the governor of the district, Juan
Oblitas, as well as to the governor of Sicasica, Francisco Espania,
even though they had lately persecuted him frequently. The com-
mander then suggested that the king's forces should be stationed
in the villages of Calliri or Caraca; and that after this they could
meet at an appropriate point between, on neutral territory, to con-
clude the final surrender. The writer of the letter then reassured
Colonel Rolando that he would proceed as promised "on his word of
honor." He requested that the letter be forwarded to the intendant
of Cochabamba. The communication was signed "Eusebio Lira."32
When the reading of this amazing letter was terminated every-
one was stunned, as if a bomb had dropped in their midst. Many
wished to read the letter several times. Vargas was there too, and
he said that in the very moment of confusion when everybody was
discussing this surprise First Sergeant Manuel Branes took him,
Vargas, to one side and whispered, "This signature is falsified. It
is not the handwriting of Lira."33 Vargas rushed to see the letter
again, and then mustered courage to approach Major Marquina
and ask him bluntly how he had got hold of this letter. Marquina
said that it was the soldier, Torres, of the honor guard of Com-
mander Lira, who had given him the letter. Torres jumped up and
said that when Lira was changing his coat the letter had fallen out
of the pocket, and that he, Torres, picked it up in order to hand it
to Lira. Then he saw the insignia of the Spanish army on the
envelope and quickly decided to keep it and take it to Marquina.
Again there was silence, and then everybody insisted that the
commander should be arrested and face the accusation. Some


soldiers wept, and wanted to kill him immediately for his treason.
Others, also crying, said that Lira was honest and incapable of
committing such a base deed, and insisted on a quick clarification
of the abominable accusation.
Vargas, seeing the tumult, called aside his little friend, the
small drummer from Tapacari, "the smartest of all drummers,"
according to Vargas. He told him to slip out through the back
wall of the stables and rush over to the commander's house, and
explain everything to him so that he would be warned of what he
would have to face. The little fellow did as told, went out unseen
by the guards, and rushed over to Lira's residence, three blocks
away. But time was short, and when he reached the house he
already saw a crowd moving from the barracks toward the resi-
dence. He hurriedly explained to the commander, in an incoherent
way, the unfortunate news. Lira apparently did not understand
the real significance of it, scolded the little drummer for having
left the barracks, and sternly ordered him to return and go to bed,
where he should have been at that very late hour.
In the meanwhile, it had been decided at the barracks that a
selected platoon with its leader, Don Ram6n Rivera, go to arrest
the commander. Some officers opposed this procedure, and con-
fusion reigned. Captain Moreno, whom Lira had pardoned for
his massacre of Paria, now insisted that he go with the soldiers
himself. Moreno won his point. At two o'clock in the morning
he and Sergeant Manuel Miranda, an intimate friend of the captain,
and the platoon left the barracks for Lira's residence in order to
apprehend him. The house of Lira, a dilapidated single-story
building three blocks away from the quarters, was located just
across from the priest's residence. Moreno knocked on the door.
From the inside a voice, that of the commander, responded, "Go
to sleep, let me sleep, don't disturb me." Moreno answered, "Get
up, Commander, you are arrested." Again from the inside Lira
replied, "Arrested, who has ordered this?" Moreno shouted through
the door, "By the order of the whole officer corps and all the troops."
Again Lira put a question, "Do you have armed men with you to
apprehend me?" "Yes, I have half of the grenadiers with me,"
responded Moreno. Then Lira said, "Let's see you prove to me
that you have armed soldiers with you." Moreno ordered his men
to fire two shots into the air. The door then opened, and Lira
stepped out and said calmly, "Ha, you are making a revolution,

you smart cusqueios.34 I want to ask you not to kill me without
letting me go to confession."35 Lira was wide awake and dressed
in a poncho which concealed his saber. Then Moreno explained
that this was not a revolution, but that they had found a paper with
Lira's signature, and that the reason for the commander's arrest
was simply to prove or disprove the authenticity of the signature.
Lira was taken to a nearby store where the trial was scheduled
to take place immediately. The store was closed, and while they
tried to open it the captured commander sat down on a bench in
front of the store. The platoon of soldiers surrounded him. Once
the store was opened Moreno asked Lira to enter. At the moment
that the commander stepped into the store someone from behind
fired a shot. It hit Lira. Moreno turned around and yelled, "Who
has shot, from where did it come, who has shot?" The bullet had
penetrated from behind into the ribs. There was confusion. Mo-
reno ordered Vargas to sound a general alarm. The drummer and
the band left for the village square to fufill Moreno's order. On
his way back to the store he saw that the village had been thrown
into an uproar. Those soldiers and officers who had remained in
the barracks had rushed out. The village inhabitants who had
been peacefully sleeping at that very early hour, unaware of the
coup that was taking place in the guerrilla unit stationed in their
town, had been awakened by the noise and were wandering in
confusion in the dark streets. Moreno was frantic. He was swear-
ing and continually mumbling and repeating, "I don't know who
has shot the commander." The wounded Lira was painfully and
nervously pacing in the dark in the store.
Vargas approached the store because he wanted to see Lira
and be with him in his critical hour. When the wounded com-
mander saw him he shook his hand then spoke in sad words to
his faithful subordinate, the drummer. He reminded him that Var-
gas had been his companion from the very start of the struggle,
that together they had traveled extensively and worked very hard,
that the drummer had been a faithful witness of everything, and
that he had been a devoted comrade and defender of the father-
land. He complained that bad people had forged the letter and
falsified his signature. The dying Lira was bitter against Moreno
and Marquina, who, he said, were "good soldiers of the King." He
believed they had seduced his troops. Lira emphasized that he
never would have committed the crime of which they had accused

him. He wondered why he would have wanted to surrender when
his troops were stronger than ever, and when he had fought bravely
against the enemy at a time when he had had only six or eight
rifles. He was sure that none of the division believed this fraud.
He ended in a tone of desperation saying, "Everything has been
fraud, rivalry, envy, and this [coup] is [only] ambition for power."
He then repeated, "This is not my signature, I never thought of
this."36 The deposed commander then asked his friend Vargas to
go to the barracks and tell the army of his innocence.
Vargas did as requested by Lira. But when he reached the
quarters they were empty, with the exception of a few officers who
had been arrested, probably because they had voiced allegiance
to the wounded commander. The drummer was also arrested and
jailed with these officers. Later they were all freed and taken to
an assembly room. There Santiago Farjado, father-in-law of Mar-
quina, was the first to address the meeting. He said that history
was full of such incidents, but what he lamented most was that
a courageous and fine leader had been murdered in cold blood.
Farjado wondered what the superiors in Buenos Aires would think
about this, and what excuse they could give them for such a bar-
barous act. He was concerned, too, about what the Patriots would
say of such a scandal, and the way this unit did its business. Farjado
was wondering how they could cleanse their name. As Lira in his
speech to Vargas, so Farjado, the man who soon would take the
place of Lira, in his speech to the assembly, ended on a note of
sadness and skepticism. He thought that he would have been
better off if he had remained a disinterested citizen instead of
becoming a Patriot. He added that if he had the means37 he would
leave these lands in order not to witness these rivalries among
the Patriots.
Marquina, the son-in-law of Farjado and the man who had first
publicized the original charges against Lira, said to the meeting
that this eventful day had produced two important incidents. The
first was the loss of a "brave, sagacious, prudent, and meritorious
commander," and the second, the awareness that someone had
wanted to start a great intrigue with the intention of destroying
the unity and faith of this partisan unit. He thought that nobody
was responsible for the death of Lira, who incidentally had not yet
died, but that it was due to the wishes of "the god of the warriors,"38
who is the one who holds in his hands the destiny of all fighters.


He thought that the most important thing to do was to name a
new commander in order to avoid further anarchy. Everybody
present agreed with this need. Farjado was quickly and unan-
imously elected as the new commander of the partisan unit. At
first he refused the honor but then gave in. The new leader then
swore to uphold the cause of the Patriots, and afterwards all the
other members at the meeting offered allegiance to Farjado and
swore to obey strictly his orders and judgments.
Immediately four members39 raised the question about the false
signature, and wanted it to be cleared up. They were of the
opinion that the letter was false and that the signature was forged,
and demanded that a committee be set up to investigate this
scandalous case. They emphasized that it was most urgent to
come to a conclusion, since in the future the same kind of trick
could be played with the new commander. But already most mem-
bers at the meeting advanced the opinion that the signature was
forged by Lieutenant Antonio Pacheco. Farjado ordered that
Pacheco be arrested for inquiry and if enough evidence was avail-
able he should be put before a military court.
Meanwhile, the disorder in the village streets had not yet
subsided. Soldiers were roving in the streets, shouting, "Long live
the fatherland, death to bad government." At nine o'clock the
dying Lira requested that Vargas be with him in his last moments.
Farjado consented to this wish. The ex-commander, in a coma,
lay on the bed, very pale, with a wooden crucifix in his hand. The
county commissioner (subdelegado) held him in his arms; a priest
stood at the other side. No one else was in the room. Four heavily
armed guards stood outside, not letting anyone in. Vargas em-
braced the dying man with tears in his eyes. In a shaking voice
he told him that he was greatly moved, that he felt so very bad
that Lira was paying dearly for his uninterrupted work for the
Patriotic cause. Lira was unable to answer, but only held up the
crucifix, pointing to Christ as if he wanted to say that in Christ he
had found peace. Vargas was completely overwhelmed by his
emotions, as were the priest and the commissioner.
It was indeed a pathetic moment. Then Lira suddenly rallied
strength, took some water, and said quite clearly, "Where are all
my companions, why do they leave me alone in this moment? Are
they already dead? Where are they? Without doubt dead or pris-
oners." Rallying more strength, he embraced Vargas and whispered,

"Good-by, my friend." He was painfully hurt that no one else
besides Vargas had come. Whispering still, he said that he was
dying but that he had worked always for the cause of the Patriots,
that he had worked very hard, and in gratitude his troops had
now killed him. Lira advised Vargas to commit suicide or go to
the enemy. He thought the enemy would take him and free him,
and then Vargas would be free of all this nonsense. But it might
be, although he did not think so, that the enemy would put him
before a firing squad. But then he would die in honor for the
fatherland "in a public square, well provided for, and with the
formalities of the occasion." At least Vargas would not finish as
miserably as he, Lira, had. He became agitated, fell back, and
was unable to continue. Again he mustered strength, put his hand
in the wound, tore out a piece of bone, and handed it to a second
priest, who had just entered, saying, "I'm dying innocent, I die
innocent, they have betrayed me. I die as a Patriot, I die as a
Catholic." He then mumbled some prayers very weakly, holding
the crucifix tightly. Lira was in his very last moments. At ten-thirty
in the morning of December 15, 1817, one more guerrilla leader
passed away.40
With Lira's death and Farjado's election unrest did not cease;
instead, a period of anarchy and internal strife followed. Nobody
thought of fighting the Spaniards. How much jurisdiction Lira
had or how extensive his republiqueta had been is vague. But it
certainly extended beyond the limits of his headquarters. He had
commanded the allegiance of faraway villages, and the Indians
had loved him since he had their blood in his veins.41 Once he
was dead, thousands and thousands of Indians and minor guerrilla
leaders converged upon Palca and Machaca. They wished to know
who had killed their beloved leader and hero. The picture then
took a dramatic turn. The Indians threatened and besieged the
Farjado force. They demanded that Moreno, Marquina, Miranda,
and others be turned over to them to be tried for the death of
their caudillo.42 Farjado vacillated and negotiated, and small skir-
mishes took place. Then the new commander decided to turn
over the wanted ones. Moreno and his band resisted, and fought
the Indians bitterly. Farjado was helpless. It was a war among
the factions. Moreno and Marquina were accused by their own
fellow officers of having been soldiers of the king. It was said that
Marquina was responsible for the death of the great guerrilla

Mufiecas. Farjado, a peacemaker with no ambition but to lead a
simple life, wanted to resign and turn over his command to a
council composed of all the antagonistic factions. His son-in-law,
Marquina, and his followers refused to let him do this, for it would
have meant the end for them. But finally a junta composed of all
important members of the factions, including such Indian and
mestizo leaders as Copitas, Calder6n, Chinchilla, Quispe, and
Ziuiiga, was set up and Farjado resigned. The sole function of this
junta was to supervise an election of a new over-all commander.
Then the voting took place. It is not clear who could vote and who
could not, but it resembled a sincere show of grass-roots democracy.
Village mayors and Indian caciques were there for the election.
The voting was secret. The honest, but uninterested, Farjado was
re-elected, and Chinchilla, the favorite of the Indians, became
second in command. The members who had engineered the coup
against Lira remained unpunished.
But peace was not yet established among the factions. Again
in the early part of 1818, another crisis arose. Under the influence
of alcohol, Marquina and Moreno accused each other of planning
the death of Lira. Later they decided to desert to the enemy, but
the news leaked out. Marquina killed Moreno. Then he defended
himself against arrest, with the help of his unit. Finally, the Indians,
who had not yet forgotten their beloved Lira, captured Marquina,
and "shot him, cut off his head, and put it on a post." Farjado,
who had let those who had killed Lira go unpunished, then wished
to retire. In a grandiose manifestation the Indians and other sol-
diers elected Chinchilla as their commander. From then on more
unity was achieved and Chinchilla distinguished himself as an
active fighter against the king's army. The Ayopaya guerrilla re-
public remained united until the end of the war.43
What are the deductions or conclusions that one can make from
this account of the intimate life of the most successful guerrilla
unit of the War of Independence in Upper Peru? The existence of
the partisan republic was due to the war, but was enmity and
hatred of the Spaniards the incentive for fighting? The point is
unquestionably debatable. The patriotic sentiments of the Bolivian
historians do not permit them even to consider any other cause.44
To them the guerrilla is a heroic being. One distinguished Bolivian
historian has severely criticized another for not pointing out that
the qualities of the Upper Peruvian guerrilla leaders were superior


to those of the gaucho guerrillas of the United Provinces.45 But
would not the spirit of adventure be a rather potent factor for the
existence of those factions? Clear-cut points of grievance against
the Spanish domination, such as the generation of 1809 published
and used as the platform for their rebellion, were not considered
by the guerrillas.46 They spoke against the crown in vague terms,
such as freeing themselves from the Spanish yoke. Indeed isolated
cases of sincere anti-Spanish hatred and complete dedication to
the cause of freedom are known, such as the guerrilla soldier, Pedro
Loaysa, of the Ayopaya unit, who refused to surrender to the Span-
iards and threw himself over a precipice rather than fall into the
hands of the hated enemy. But these are exceptions. Desertion
was very common. Even the great fighter Lira was many times in
contact with the Spaniards,47 although the accusation which was
used as an excuse to kill him was absolutely false. There was
constant intercourse between the enemies. Soldiers and officers
passed over from one side to the other, whenever the other side
offered better conditions, or when their positions in their unit had
become threatened because they had committed some misdemeanor.
Each side accepted the enemy's deserters with great pleasure. The
War of Independence offered a wonderful opportunity for adven-
ture, a free and loose life, and living outside the law. Around a
few honest people with clear-cut convictions, such as Chinchilla
and Padilla, a huge group of adventure-loving people gathered. To
them it did not matter for what they fought, but only that they
were able to fight.
In order to put up a successful fight, manpower was needed.
The great Indian masses offered a large reservoir of able fighting
men. The Indians constituted one of the most complex aspects
of the War of Independence in Upper Peru. They were the material
prima for both sides, and both of the contending parties of the
war siphoned off this source of supply as extensively as possible.
The Indian, far more than the mestizo, was very ignorant of the
issues and reasons for the war,48 and therefore became an extremely
dangerous element, because he shifted allegiance at the slightest
provocation. In some instances when he deserted to the opposition,
he took with him the heads of some soldiers or officers to gain
acceptance with the other side.49 The Indian was needed and
feared,50 but he was nothing more than reservoir material. The
natives knew little of the issues involved; they cared only that


their services were needed. It is hardly possible to say that the
great bulk of Indians were in favor of the Spaniards or were sympa-
thetic to the Patriots. They fought for whichever side was more
convenient. The partisan leaders had an advantage over the Loyalist
officials because most of them had Indian blood and the ability to
make themselves more acceptable to the Indians. Also, the guer-
rillas operated mostly in the countryside which had a heavier Indian
concentration. It was natural that the Indians fought for whoever
was dominant in their district. They constituted a great power in
the Ayopaya republic, and when Lira was assassinated they were
responsible for raising their favorite, Chinchilla, to the command.
There were, however, some Indians and Indian caciques who
were staunchly loyal to either the Patriots or the Spaniards.51 It
often happened that the Spaniards treated the natives much better
than the American whites did. The criollos and the mestizos felt a
certain disdain for the Indians. During the great Indian rebellions
of the late eighteenth century in Upper Peru, it was the criollos and
mestizos who frantically mobilized resistance against the Indian
threat.52 In Upper Peru's capital, Chuquisaca, the criollos more
than anyone else were responsible for the public hangings of some
captured rebels in the city's parks and main square.53 Several
Indian caciques might have still remembered those days, and prob-
ably were fearful that the criollos would win the War of Independ-
ence. Of the two evils, the Spaniards represented the lesser. To
cacique Manuel Caceres the ideal solution was the elimination
of both contingents. In the midst of the war he and his Indians
revolted, with the aim of re-establishing the Inca empire.54 He
shrewdly offered support to both the Patriots and the Loyalists,
with the idea of waiting for the opportune moment to do away
with both of them. He failed completely. Of interest are the
various proclamations in Quechua by the Spanish and Argentine
authorities, trying to persuade the Indians to join their side, prom-
ising them in vague terms many privileges that they never intended
to give. Both sides called the natives "brothers" and offered to
"consider them as equals."55 The Indians were a huge pool of man-
power which could not be ignored. They represented an amorphous
mass to be used freely by the Loyalists and the Patriots.56 Neither
the generation of 1809 nor the guerrilla leaders ever thought of
emancipating them.57
The guerrilla units represented a more democratic front solely


because they were of a wider cross section of society. None of
the Patriots fought for an independent Upper Peru, but only for
freedom from the Spaniards, for personal ambition, adventure, and
loot. Surely not all of them were stimulated by simple material
reasons, but those who fought for an ideal did so because they
disliked the "tyranny of the Spanish government" and the "Spanish
cupidity."58 Beyond these incidental and vague expressions of
protest against the crown, nothing of a more definite nature, such
as a declaration of grievances, is ever known to have been formu-
lated by any guerrilla.
There is one single word which is mentioned over and over.
They fought for the Patria, the fatherland. When guerrilla Padilla
sent his record of experiences to his superiors in the United Prov-
inces, he called it a resume of his services "in defense of the sacred
rights of the Patria." Drummer Vargas in his diary uses the word
Patria innumerable times. The partisans called their units "armies
of the Patria." Those who fought against the Spaniards are known
today as patriots, to distinguish them from the Loyalists, known
in the annals of history as Realistas, or Royalists. The war was
between Patriotas and Realistas.59 And Patriotas means those who
fought for the Patria.
What was the Patria? Once a country with its definite boun-
daries exists, then it is that country. But such was not the case at
that time. There had been only administrative units within the
Spanish colonial empire. Upper Peru was part of the Audiencia of
Charcas.o6 The audiencia, at the time of the beginning of the war
in 1809, had been part of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. When
Buenos Aires, in all practicality, broke loose from the empire in
1810, the Loyalist authorities in Upper Peru annexed the Audiencia
of Charcas to the Viceroyalty of Lima. What was the Patria then:
the Audiencia of Charcas, the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata or
Lima? Or was the Patria each little guerrilla republic? No definite
answer can be given. The partisan leaders never did define what
they considered the fatherland. Drummer Vargas tells us that
the "Patria is the soil on which we step and on which we live; Patria
is the real cause which we must defend at all costs; for the Patria
we must sacrifice our interests and our lives.""6
Vargas probably expressed very well what the average guerrilla
believed the Patria to be. It did not mean any defined jurisdiction,
but the longing for freedom was predominant in their minds and


it meant freedom for their soil; as the great montonero, Padilla, ex-
pressed it, "We love our soil with all our hearts."" The concept of
freedom was ambiguously amalgamated with the notion of the
Patria. Any more definite elaboration of this fusion was not avail-
able. The Bolivian historian, Humberto Guzmin, has summarized
this amalgamation very well when he wrote that "the attachment
to the soil inspired the origin and meaning of Patria."63 Upper
Peru was then still occupied by the Loyalists, but the United Prov-
inces were free, and from those free provinces aid came and more
might come. Therefore the guerrilla units looked to them for
guidance, and attached their divisions to the command of the forces
in the United Provinces. The authorities of the free territory never
once doubted that Upper Peru was part of their jurisdiction. They
called them the "internal provinces"64 which still were occupied
by the enemy. If the term Patria at the time of the high point of
the guerrilla operations had any jurisdictional connotation, one
could make a better case for the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata.65
The diary of Vargas portrays one evident factor, the strict alle-
giance of the commander of the unit to the United Provinces.66
When Captain Moreno sacked Paria, the commander's first worry
was how to explain this insubordination in his unit to his superiors
in Argentina. Again, when Commander Lira was killed the newly
appointed commander, Farjado, was greatly worried about "what
the principal chiefs in Buenos Aires would say and how they would
excuse such an atrocious act" committed in the Ayopaya division.
Any thought of acting independently of the United Provinces was
inconceivable. As the word Patria was used repeatedly, so the
references to the superiors in Buenos Aires and Salta are abundant.
This alone is a potent proof that there was no idea of pursuing
the fight for the purpose of creating an independent Upper Peru.
The Ayopaya partisan republic is not the only case that illus-
trates this important point. When the various auxiliary armies
from the United Provinces invaded Upper Peru, the guerrilla units
always tried to gear their actions to the movements of the invading
army. As a matter of fact, the commanding general of the auxiliary
army automatically became the over-all commander of the Patriot
forces in Charcas.67 Of the few available records of the guerrilla
leaders,68 all show that these partisan commanders expected their
orders from, and reported their movements, if possible, to the gen-
eral of the liberating army. When Rondeau's army was defeated



in 1815, upon his arrival in Jujuy he received from practically all
of the guerrillas reports of how they intended to maintain the War
of Independence in Charcas.69 Even Mufiecas, who operated along
the shores of Lake Titicaca, within view of Lower Peru, held him-
self responsible to the United Provinces. Drummer Vargas tells
us about an Indian who had gone to Salta to receive instructions
or orders to deliver to Lira. It is known that Warnes used as his
flag the blue and white colors of the United Provinces, and sup-
posedly Arenales and Warnes always played the national anthem
of the free provinces.70 It is patent that Upper Peru was actually,
in the minds of the guerrillas at least, a part of the United Provinces.
That this sentiment of unity was later destroyed was clearly the
fault of the free United Provinces. The failure of the auxiliary
armies, their cruel behavior, and finally, their abandonment of the
internal provinces that constituted Upper Peru stimulated the
desire for an independent Charcas.71
Much is made of a letter written in 1815 by the partisan Padilla
to the Argentine general Rondeau, in which the guerrilla leader
chastises the general in rough words about the Argentine failure
and his unbecoming behavior in Upper Peru.72 This letter is often
considered the beginning of a strong feeling for an independent
Charcas.73 If one wishes to determine the exact date at which, for
the first time, a vague expression for an autonomous Upper Peru
is available in a document, this letter no doubt could serve the
purpose. But one single letter, written probably under emotional
strain by a single guerrilla, although indeed a very important one,
is not very conclusive. Vargas' diary points out that obedience to
the United Provinces was still strong in 1821.
In that year Chinchilla was still the commander of the Ayopaya
partisan republic. On February 3, 1821, Miguel Lanza, without any
previous notice, showed up in the guerrilla republic.74 Lanza prob-
ably had been the founder of this guerrilla faction. After the
disastrous defeat of the third auxiliary army from Argentina in
1815, he retreated with the army into the United Provinces. From
1815 to 1821 Ayopaya managed its own affairs and continued the
partisan warfare without further thought of Lanza. Then in 1821
he appeared, appointed by the superior in Argentina as the new
commander of the interior. Chinchilla accepted this arrangement.
But Lanza immediately accused the ex-commander of having co-
operated with the enemy, just as Lira had been accused in 1817.

Without any trial, Chinchilla was put before a firing squad,75 and
in this way Lanza killed a close friend who in 1811 had helped him
escape from a Spanish jail.76
What justification did Lanza have to do what he did? Chinchilla
had been his early companion, he had been elected commander
of the whole unit by the soldiers and Indians of the partisan re-
public. He had maintained the republiqueta in those critical years
when all other important partisan republiquetas were unable to
withstand the Spanish offensive of 1816. Chinchilla had the faithful
support of the Indians, who loved him. When the Indian leader,
Quispe, who fought under the banner of Chinchilla, requested an
explanation from Lanza for his behavior, Lanza responded: "I
come to investigate all the acts of Commander Chinchilla by order
of the chief commander in Buenos Aires, and to punish him if he
deserves it, or to praise him if not." When the author Vargas, who
came to like Lanza's efficiency and enthusiasm, but hated injustice,
later asked Lanza many times why he had killed Chinchilla, the
commander angrily evaded the question or stated he had strict
orders from the superior in Salta to kill Chinchilla.77 Lanza thought
that dissatisfied officers under Chinchilla had communicated wrong
impressions to Salta. After Chinchilla's death Lanza streamlined
and reorganized the guerrilla unit.78 He fought bravely until the
end of the war.
It is certain that Lanza did not kill Chinchilla simply because
of personal ambition, but rather because he had instructions from
superiors in the United Provinces. Argentina was still the source
of authority and the guerrillas did not dispute this right. The idea
of an autonomous Upper Peru that Padilla, in a moment of disgust,
had hinted at, had not yet caught on. The guerrillas still fought
for the ambiguous Patria, for freedom, for adventure, and for their
own petty ambitions.
It was petty ambitions that were responsible for the deaths of
Commanders Lira and Chinchilla. Farjado had enough sense to
retire at the right time. The prime purpose of the factions was to
fight the enemy, the Spanish forces, but often this became a sec-
ondary aim. There were always squabbles among the members of
a faction. Perhaps the most significant facet of the history of
Ayopaya is that this guerrilla republic shows an amazing similarity
to the later history of Bolivia. The history of this republiqueta
represents a microscopic prelude to the history of Bolivia. The

internal warfare and miniature revolutions of this guerrilla unit
presaged the political pattern of the country, which became "a
hurricane of changes and vicissitudes."79
Was this all not begot in a period before autonomy? The guer-
rillas were an integral part of Bolivian history and an important
link to independence, but they were not the creators of autonomous
Bolivia. The independence of Upper Peru was due, among other
factors, to two antagonistic but important causes: resentment
against Argentina because of her failure to liberate the interior
provinces from Spanish rule, and the later intrigues of some Loyal-
ists who, when seeing their cause lost, came out for the second-best
alternative, the independence of Upper Peru, which then would
continue to serve as the base for their enterprises, free from any
outside interference.

6Capt e 3


the guerrillas represented a small factor because of
their lack of a precise goal, because the majority had gone down to
defeat, and because the remaining number were ignored and out-
smarted by more politically subtle elements. But the guerrilla war-
fare had not been the sole militancy against the Royalists. The war
was fought by two kinds of forces: "The everlasting battle of monto-
neros and a series of strategic campaigns between armies of
faraway origins."' This second struggle was the clash of the Spanish
and Patriot armies. The Spanish legions were directed from the
Viceroyalty of Lima, and the rebels came up from the Plata region
with the purpose of liberating the upper provinces, which they
considered an integral part of the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires.
Once freed the internal provinces could be used as a springboard
to invade the Viceroyalty of Lima. The contingents sent from
Argentina were known as the auxiliary armies.
By 1810 the battle lines were drawn. When the war started
in Upper Peru in 1809 that region, organized as the Audiencia of
Charcas, belonged to the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. When in
1810 Buenos Aires, for all practical purposes, severed her relations
with the Spanish empire, the faithful Royalist officials in Upper
Peru, who had successfully suppressed the revolts in 1809, delivered
the Audiencia of Charcas to the Viceroyalty of Lima.2 The authori-
ties in Buenos Aires never recognized this switch, and from their
point of view the upper provinces constituted an integral part of
the new order within the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires.


The upper provinces were occupied by the enemy; to liberate
them was the immediate purpose of the auxiliary armies. Buenos
Aires wished to consolidate her independence and a Royal Upper
Peru was a threat to this fulfillment. From a juridical point of
view Upper Peru was in the state of flux.3 The Patriots looked to
Buenos Aires for help and considered themselves part of the Vice-
royalty of Buenos Aires, as had been the case before the war. The
Loyalists approved the secession from Buenos Aires because of the
spirit of revolt which was then prevalent in the Viceroyalty of Rio
de la Plata, and they looked to Lima for protection and guidance.
In their view Charcas had reverted to Lima, to which it had be-
longed before the creation of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata.
If the Patriots should win the war, the integration of the upper
provinces within the jurisdiction of Buenos Aires would be ex-
pected.4 The spirit of isolation and the wish to separate which
were prevalent in Paraguay and the Banda Oriental were at first
absent in the upper provinces.
The units or armies which marched into Upper Peru from
Buenos Aires with the specific purpose of freeing those provinces
achieved the opposite result. Their military failure and undignified
behavior created resentment which became the basis of the desire
for separation from Buenos Aires. The brilliant and patently nation-
alistic Argentine writer, Bautista Alberdi, has frankly admitted, in
speaking of his nation's armies, that they "soon exasperated the
people because of their violence, and those lands turned against
the Patriots with more intensity than against the Spaniards."5
Alberdi was correct. A well-led Argentine army, with reasonable
military success, good coordination with the guerrillas, proper
behavior, and a polished propaganda apparatus could have liberated
the Upper Provinces, and the problem of separation would have
never become acute.
The first auxiliary army to enter the upper provinces was under
the command of a lawyer by the name of Juan Jose Castelli, who
in his youth had been a student at the famous University of San
Francisco Xavier in Chuquisaca. His force entered Upper Peru in
October, 1810. Before crossing the border of the internal provinces
Castelli's army, on instruction from Buenos Aires, had already
committed a serious mistake. Ex-Viceroy Liniers and some of his
associates were put before a firing squad by the auxiliary army, an
action which was not well received in Charcas. Liniers was a great


hero in the minds and hearts of the people of Charcas. The English
invasions in 1806 had produced a tremendous shock and fear
throughout the whole Audiencia of Charcas.6 Everybody was
solemnly united against those "hateful islanders," as Archbishop
Benito Maria Mox6 had classified them. Everyone wished the
defeat of this "gang of schismatics and heretics," and in his pastoral
letters Mox6 infused still more fear, suspicion, and hatred for the
English.7 When the English troops of General Beresford were
defeated everyone felt relieved. It was Liniers who had saved them
from those soldiers who the provincial people of Charcas, isolated
in their mountains and jungles, thought would want to impose on
them the hateful "revolutionary doctrine of Calvin."8 Liniers had
become the idol of all the people of Charcas, and now he had been
condemned to death for treason. Without question the high esteem
with which Upper Peru regarded Liniers had not completely van-
ished. And Castelli, who had carried out the death sentence, was
on his way to Charcas to liberate them. Indeed a very bad start.
On November 25, 1810, after an initial defeat and then a sur-
prising victory, the Argentine army entered Potosi, the most
important town of Upper Peru.9 After the victory of Suipacha the
pro-Patriot element inside Potosi had taken over the town and
Castelli's victorious army entered in the midst of cheering partisans.
Perhaps the first Argentine mistake was forgotten, and with tact
and intelligence Castelli could have easily improved his favorable
position. Chuquisaca, the capital of the audiencia, had only days
before pronounced itself for Buenos Aires. The guerrillas had lib-
erated Cochabamba, and La Paz too came out in favor of Buenos
Aires. The Spanish army retreated to the outskirts of La Paz. It
looked as if the upper provinces were free and had accepted the
new order of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. But Castelli proved
to be the wrong man, for he "had the soul of a tyrant."10
Castelli committed another blunder, bloodier than his first one.
He arrested the president of the Audiencia of Charcas, Vicente
Nieto, and condemned him to death together with the venerable
intendant of Potosi, Francisco Paula Sanz, and the Royalist general,
Jose de C6rdova. Although all three were Royalists, none of them
was hated by the people, and the death sentence was unnecessarily
severe. Paula Sanz was the most beloved figure in Charcas. He
had governed Potosi for twenty-two years, and his behavior during
his many years in office had been irreproachable. President Nieto's


ten months of service in Upper Peru had not been enlightened and
his rule was quite arbitrary, but he had not caused any terror."x
From Chuquisaca Archbishop Mox6 wrote Castelli, asking him
why these three men had been sentenced to death, and requesting
their liberty in the name of the whole city.12 Castelli ignored every
request. On Saturday, September 15, 1810, at twenty minutes to
ten in the morning, in the main square of Potosi in full view of the
terrified inhabitants of the Villa Imperial, the three prisoners were
executed. The only crime the condemned men had committed was
that of having remained loyal to the Royalist cause and of not
having recognized the governing junta of Buenos Aires. Castelli
had accused them of deliberately dismembering the Viceroyalty
of Rio de la Plata when Nieto and Sanz had united Charcas with
Lima. For this he convicted them, with the ultimate penalty. No
court judged them, and the sentence was Castelli's word alone. He
reported to Buenos Aires that the execution was impressive because
of "its military appearance, punctuality, and obedience."13
In addition, the auxiliary army behaved more as a cruel victor
than as a liberating ally. At night the soldiers roamed freely in
Potosi's dark and narrow streets, showing no respect for the town's
citizens. One night Francisco Lacoa was killed by some soldiers
who took a fancy to his elegant cloak and wished to own it. A Mrs.
Teran was robbed of everything she possessed when some Argen-
tineans came to search her house. A certain Faustino Velarde was
attacked in the middle of the street, and once dead he was robbed
of everything, disrobed, and his naked corpse left in the street.
Another citizen was put to death in cold blood with a saber, for
no reason at all. The soldiers of the auxiliary unit showed little
respect for the women of Potosi, and whoever came to their defense
was shot down mercilessly. Potosi came to fear and hate the Argen-
tineans and when, on December 22, 1810, Castelli and his army
left the town for Chuquisaca, the people of the City of Silver felt
deep relief because a dreadful nightmare had come to an end.14
The seeds of everlasting hatred for the Argentineans had been sown.
Castelli's and his army's behavior in Chuquisaca was also irre-
sponsible. Although rumors of his preposterous conduct in Potosi
had reached the capital, and the assassination of Nieto, Sanz, and
C6rdova was looked upon with abhorrence, still the auxiliary army
was received splendidly. Yet Castelli lost not a moment in sub-
jecting the town to his arbitrary rule. He immediately interfered in

the town's government by naming a cabildo of his own choice.
He decided who would occupy all important positions. On January
5, 1811, Castelli issued a stern proclamation in which he restricted
all political and judicial guarantees. Everyone who opposed the
auxiliary army would be declared a traitor and liable to court-
martial. No one could speak against the government of Buenos
Aires; to do so would be a "crime of the first magnitude."15 Anyone
who denounced those who voiced an opinion against the govern-
ment and the Argentine army would be rewarded. Because of this
many distinguished citizens were arrested and shipped to Argentina.
Not satisfied with this, on February 8, the Argentine commander
issued an even sterner proclamation in which he promised that
anyone who opposed the government in word or action would be
militarily convicted of the highest crime and executed. The Argen-
tine nightmare had gone from Potosi to Chuquisaca. Castelli also
announced some radical political and social reforms which were
advanced for that time. Castelli wanted honestly to improve the
lot of the Indians and free them from all bondage."1
To the relief of the capital Castelli and his army left Chuquisaca
in March to push the advance north to the border of the Viceroyalty
of Lima. He took Oruro and La Paz. In the latter city he and his
secretary, Bernardo Monteagudo, outraged the deep religious feel-
ings of the inhabitants by ignoring the observance of Holy Week.17
Afterwards Castelli signed a forty-day armistice with the Royalist
general, Jose Manuel de Goyeneche, stopping the lines of battle
more or less along the border separating the two viceroyalties. But
Castelli was not true to his word and slowly, in defiance of the
armistice, pushed the line farther north. Goyeneche answered with
a surprise attack and completely routed the auxiliary army at Huaqui
(or Guaqui) on June 20, 1811. Castelli and his defeated army fled
in panic toward Oruro. They had to bypass Oruro because its
inhabitants were ready to finish off the hated auxiliaries, an indica-
tion that Castelli had repeated his performance of Potosi and
Chuquisaca in that mining town. Goyeneche was taken by surprise
at the easy victory. Being a careful soldier, he avoided haste and
did not pursue the routed enemy. He cared for the wounded of
both sides and treated the many prisoners decently.18
The auxiliary army dispersed in complete disorder toward Co-
chabamba, Chuquisaca, and Potosi. In most instances the retreating
units plundered towns and villages as they passed. La Paz had


some agonizing moments when part of the defeated army came
through there. There was absolutely no contact among the retreat-
ing units, but most of them took the road toward Potosi, the strongest
fortress of Charcas. Castelli went to Chuquisaca. Again the Im-
perial City was the host of the Argentine army, which this time
used the town to reorganize its decimated ranks. The residents of
Potosi were by then violently opposed to the Argentineans; memo-
ries of the previous year were still vivid, and while the army had
been north an ugly incident had occurred between the people of
Potosi and the little Argentine garrison left behind.
On February 4, 1811, the people of Potosi were celebrating the
Feast of the Purification of Mary, as was the custom. Among the
high points of the festival was an afternoon bullfight. The Argentine
officers were seated in a balcony of honor, and the auxiliary soldiers
were dispersed among the people, some taking part in the bullfight.
At the moment when the main bull of the arena was passing under-
neath the balcony of honor an Argentine lieutenant jumped up,
took out his sword, and tried to stick it into the bull from above.
Because of a last second sharp movement of the animal he missed,
and his sword hit the empty air. The officer lost his equilibrium and
in a most ludicrous somersault fell from the balcony into the ring.
General laughter rang through the arena. The lieutenant sprang
up, picked up his saber, and swinging it around furiously, wounded
some Indians who were taken by surprise. Several people who
tried to restrain the officer were also struck by the weapon. A
sudden and unanimous protest arose among the spectators, who
spontaneously fell upon the auxiliaries. Armed with "sticks, rocks,
and knives"19 they pursued the panic-stricken soldiers and officers,
who ran in haste to their quarters to fetch their arms. Tempers
ran high. The auxiliary commander ordered his unit to open fire
if the people should attack the barracks. The potosinos meanwhile
were advancing in fury toward the soldiers' quarters. Everything
was set for a terrific massacre. Only a last minute intervention by
a citizen named Jose Guzman led both sides to lay down their
arms. Bloodshed had been averted, but tempers were higher than
ever and any slight provocation on the part of the auxiliaries would
have produced a second incident.20
And then in June and July of 1811, the rest of the auxiliary
army, completely defeated and demoralized, returned to Potosi.
The situation was explosive, and everybody felt that a second


February fourth was quite possible. On Monday, August 5, 1811,
a drunken Negro auxiliary soldier interrupted a peaceful conver-
sation of some citizens in one of the plazas. When they ignored
him he took his knife and furiously attacked them. A fight ensued.
The news spread quickly, and the drunken soldier received help
from some of his comrades. The other side was reinforced by
more and more potosinos. The auxiliary soldier was killed. The
Argentineans ran to their quarters for their weapons. Armed, they
advanced upon the people and opened fire, but the civilians in-
creased their ranks to such a number that the auxiliaries again
started to retreat. The people brought out all kinds of weapons
and the casualties of the auxiliaries were heavy. From all sides
the townspeople harassed them. Many fell wounded but the fury
of the potosinos had reached unreasonable heights. They fell
upon the wounded soldiers, beating them to death. The frenzy of
the people knew no bounds, and they now directed their attack
against those civilians who had shown favor to the auxiliaries. The
Argentineans were no longer fighting in a unit, but each was
fighting to save his own life.
The battle of Huaqui had been mild compared with this mas-
sacre. A priest by the name of Arechabala wanted to intervene and
stop the slaughter, but was shot to death. Through the whole
night the battle continued. Throughout her history Potosi had
seen many bloody scenes, but she had never witnessed another
such as this. Even with the coming of morning the struggle did
not abate. Many citizens were looking frantically for hidden
auxiliaries, while other soldiers fought valiantly to keep the masses
away from them. To fall into their hands meant sure death. The
people of Potosi were determined to be finished with the auxiliary
army. By midday the few potosinos who had remained calm hit
upon a last resort to terminate the massacre. They took the images
of the Virgin of the Rosary and of Vera Cruz from the churches of
Santo Domingo and San Francisco and organized a procession
through the streets where the heaviest fighting continued. It had
a smashing effect. The fight subsided, and an ominous quietness
settled over the Imperial City. One hundred and forty-five soldiers
had been killed, but only nine civilians had lost their lives.21 The
resentment against the Argentine army's abuses, which had accu-
mulated for nearly a year, had caused an explosion much worse
than the people had expected.


In the absence of Castelli the auxiliary commander was Juan
Martin de Pueyrred6n, who prior to Castelli's defeat had been
named president of the audiencia. Pueyrred6n acted with caution
and seemingly good will, even though the potosinos had massacred
his unit. He undertook to reconcile the opposing explosive tempers.
On the next day he ordered his army to dress in gala uniforms and
march to the main square. At the same time he invited all the
citizens to come to the plaza. Then the auxiliary commander urged
both soldiers and townspeople to make peace, forget the past, and
unite against the common enemy. A real comedy took place;
whereas only a day before a furious battled raged in the Imperial
City's narrow streets, an air of festivity now reigned. Auxiliaries
and potosinos fell into each other's arms, embraced each other, and
swore to forgive all past unpleasantness. From that time on they
would be friends and allies. More than a hundred and fifty men
had perished, apparently for nothing. But such a theatrical scene
was nothing more than an expression of "hypocrisy."22 Pueyrred6n
had without question done what he honestly believed was necessary
to restore peace. But simply calling everyone to the plaza and then
asking that each one should embrace a rival was no real remedy
for the deep-seated antagonism caused by the auxiliary army. An
investigation was started to determine the cause of the tragedy
of August 5.23 The Argentineans who conducted the inquiry came
to the conclusion that the city's priests were responsible for what
Pueyrred6n called the "revolution of August 5 and 6."24 They were
accused of inciting the masses to a counterrevolution in favor of
Lima. Four priests were arrested and ordered away from Potosi.
It is hardly possible that Pueyrred6n's conclusion as to the cause
of the tragedy was even close to the truth.25
In the meanwhile the Peruvian army, under the capable Goye-
neche, was advancing toward the south. In a battle at Amiraya it
completely defeated the auxiliary contingent which had been re-
organized in Cochabamba. Pueyrred6n, afraid that this news would
encourage the potosinos to further acts, boldly announced that
Diaz Velez, the auxiliary commander in the Cochabamba district,
had won a splendid victory. The church bells announced the hoax
to the Imperial City. But the dishonesty was soon discovered when
a Franciscan friar received from a friend, an officer in the Goye-
neche army, a detailed account of the battle of Amiraya. The
letter further told of the great magnanimity with which Goyeneche


had treated the people of Cochabamba. The news spread like a
flash, and tempers again ran high against the auxiliaries. Soon after
this Diaz Vdlez entered Potosi with his defeated unit, proving that
the friar's letter had been only too true. It was then advisable for
the Argentine army to evacuate Potosi.
Diaz Vl6ez, rightly fearing that his defeated unit would only
stir up more hostile feelings, and realizing the impossibility of
defending Potosi with a disorganized army and an unfriendly town,
decided to leave the Imperial City and retreat to Argentina.
Pueyrred6n and some selected crack units were to remain in town
as long as possible. He wanted nothing more than to get hold
of the plentiful funds deposited in the famous Casa de Moneda,
the San Carlos Bank, and other fiscal agencies.26 He requested
from the potosinos four hundred mules to carry the spoils.27A
unanimous protest arose among the irate citizens. Pueyrred6n
tried to calm tempers by saying that he had no intention of carrying
the funds to Argentina, but he wished to take them to the Upper
Peruvian village of Tupiza so that those valuables would not fall
into the enemy's hands. But the commander had overreached him-
self. The town's hostility against his small unit became more acute
and the position of the remaining auxiliary contingent was exceed-
ingly precarious. Pueyrred6n decided to leave town during the
dark of the night without telling anyone. He gave the impression
that he was postponing his departure. It was planned that the
night of August 25 was the propitious time to make the escape.
Everything was set, when at seven-thirty of that night his best and
most trusted unit mutinied. The commander decided that he and
the remaining forty-five auxiliaries must take to the road immedi-
ately. If in the morning the potosinos realized that part of his
troops had deserted, the people would take advantage of his
desperate position and liquidate him and his faithful soldiers. It
was midnight when the commander and the rest of the auxiliaries
entered the Casa de Moneda to load the mules with silver. From
twelve until four o'clock they loaded the animals with the silver
bars, working in absolute silence. Then at four-thirty, very care-
fully, they moved quietly through the deserted streets with the
hope of reaching the open road. Each one was tense, his nerves
on edge; it was just like the escape of a thief after a successful
robbery. At dawn they had reached the open space and had
flanked the majestic silver mountain.28


When the people awoke they realized that they had been duped.
The auxiliaries had left and had taken with them the stored riches
of their Imperial City. The alarm was sounded, church bells were
rung, the people organized hastily, looking frantically for weapons.
Then, like a furious avalanche, they rushed out of town in hot
pursuit of the auxiliaries. The people's army reached the Argentine
unit and a wild skirmish ensued. Pueyrred6n estimated that two
thousand townspeople attacked him, but they were poorly armed
and had no guidance or organization. The Argentine commander
had placed his unit in a strategic position and this, plus his far
superior weapons, forced the people to retreat toward the Cerro
Rico. Pueyrred6n again started his march and again the potosinos
pursued him. The previous scene was repeated, with identical
results. This kind of mobile skirmish continued throughout the
whole day until nightfall drove the pursuers back to Potosi. While
many of the people had been trying to catch the auxiliaries, the
Royalist, or pro-Lima, faction had quietly taken over Potosi.29
In the meanwhile the rest of what once constituted the proud
first auxiliary army continued its retreat toward Argentina. Yet
even though it had beaten off its pursuers, the retreating contin-
gents had no easy road. The news had spread and the unit was
harassed from all sides in its march through the countryside.
Pueyrred6n chose secondary roads to escape assaults.30 He hoped
to reach Tarija, the gateway to the lower provinces, as soon as
possible. In June, 1810, the peaceful and delightful town of Tarija
had come out with great enthusiasm in favor of the Buenos Aires
junta.31 When the auxiliary army had come up into the upper
provinces six hundred tarijenios joined the ranks of the Argentine
contingent and fought valiantly in the victory of Suipacha, that
opened the gates of Potosi and Chuquisaca to Castelli. After this
victory three hundred of the Tarija volunteers followed Castelli to
Potosi and marched north with him. They asked no pay for their
services. But the Argentine commander placed them in unim-
portant and inferior positions. The soldiers of Tarija became
indignant at such a discriminatory policy, and after protesting they
returned to their native town.32 The same resentment that grew
in Potosi sprang up in Tarija once the volunteers had returned.
Tarija did not want anything more to do with the auxiliary
When Diaz V6lez abandoned Potosi earlier, he, too, took the

road to Tarija and was obliged to take the city by storm. A battle
for Tarija developed and an estimated four hundred people per-
ished.33 Obviously, Pueyrred6n could not expect to find a friendly
reception there. The people of Tarija had heard that the Argentine
commander was carrying the silver of the Casa de Moneda with
him and they were determined to wrest it from him. Because of a
last minute truce between Tarija and Pueyrred6n, about which little
is known,34 this was not done and Pueyrred6n continued on his
way to the lower provinces. So ended the inglorious history of the
first auxiliary army.
In Potosi enthusiastic preparations were made to receive Gen-
eral Goyeneche, the Royalist victor over the first auxiliary army.
Triumphal arches were erected, the city was cleaned, and the
balconies were adorned with rich tapestries and palms. It was a
gala day, September 20, 1811, when finally the Spanish general
and his army entered the Imperial City. People showered him with
lovely flowers and exotic perfumes. Then the patricians of the
town offered a sumptuous reception, just as they had done when
Castelli had come for the first time. The main contingent of the
army under the command of General Pio Tristan continued its
advance south in hope of reaching, as soon as possible, the border
separating the lower from the upper provinces. Goyeneche had to
remain in Upper Peru because of a serious guerrilla threat at the
rear of his army which was becoming acute and dangerous, espe-
cially in and around Cochabamba.35 The montoneros were the
only ones who maintained the fight against the pro-Lima army.
Fighting in the countryside and isolated from the auxiliary army,
they had not been subjected to the abuses of the Argentineans.
Having freed Upper Peru from the invading army, General
Tristan crossed the border and invaded the lower provinces of the
Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. The coin had been turned. The
Royalist army overran Salta and Jujuy and was enthusiastically
pushing forward to conquer Tucuman. But Tristan overextended
his lines. He was never able to take Tucuman and victory suddenly
turned to defeat. A brilliant Argentine general, the famous Manuel
Belgrano, had been put in charge of the defense. Just as Castelli's
victory in the north had been converted by Goyeneche into a com-
plete defeat, so Belgrano routed the invading Royalist army in the
glorious battle of Salta on February 20, 1813. The victory was
complete. Tristan's disorganized bands took the road of defeat


north. Goyeneche, surprised by this upset, decided to evacuate
Potosi and march north.
Belgrano, in pursuit of the routed army, entered Upper Peru.
This was the second time that the lower provinces invaded the
upper provinces, and this force has passed into history as the
second auxiliary army. On May 7, 1813, at three-thirty in the
afternoon, Belgrano and his army were in full view of the famous
silver hill of Cerro Rico at Potosi. Again the inhabitants of that
city erected triumphal arches and hung from their balconies the
same tapestries that had been used for Goyeneche's entrance. It
seemed as if Potosi had become accustomed to the glorious entries
of victorious armies, only to see them leave ingloriously. By then
the town had systematized its welcome fairly well: up went the
arches and out of the chests came the tapestries. Seemingly, nobody
cared anymore whether it was friend or foe. Among the officers
of Belgrano was a young captain by the name of Jose Maria Paz,
whose excellent character, quick mind, and delightful disposition
would bring him future fame. He was a keen observer and a first-
class writer. In his splendid memoirs36 he tells that he felt that the
apparently enthusiastic reception of the potosinos was only a
farce and a facade behind which the fear of the people was
Belgrano ruled quite differently from Castelli, and his disciplined
army behaved correctly. Unfortunately the Argentine commander's
military fortunes were no better than those of his predecessors.
The Spanish command had passed to a capable new general by
the name of Joaquin de la Pezuela, who quickly decided that the
best way to stop Belgrano was to start a counteroffensive. With a
refreshed army he marched toward Potosi, forcing Belgrano into
the open. The Argentine general was not disturbed about this
since he was eager to leave the city and start his march north. He
requested all nearby guerrilla units to work in harmony with his
strategy. But the auxiliary army was unaccustomed to rough moun-
tain fighting, and Pezuela inflicted upon Belgrano a resounding
defeat on the plains of Vilcapugio on October 1, 1813. The deci-
mated army of Belgrano and his lieutenant, Diaz Velez, who had
participated previously in the defeats of Huaqui and Amiraya, took
the road back to Potosi. Pezuela did not pursue the routed army,
and because of this and the absence of hostility in the town, which
was due to the auxiliary army's good behavior, Belgrano decided

to hold Potosi and not retreat. The Spanish commander again
forced Belgrano into the open and defeated him for a second time
on the plains of Ayohuma on November 14. This was a far more
severe defeat than Vilcapugio. Again the auxiliary army retreated
to safety in Potosi, where the people received the disorganized army
calmly. Jose Maria Paz, the chronicler of the happenings in Po-
tosi,3T was deeply impressed by the "urbanity" of the welcome, and
he writes that he "liked very much the reception which was given
us, because it was grave, sad, official, and sympathetic nobody
feared disturbances and hostility." Paz then rightly states that the
potosinos had changed their attitude toward the Argentineans be-
cause of the second auxiliary army's correct behavior.38 Belgrano's
force had been decimated and Pezuela was pressing hard and
beginning a flanking movement, so that the only solution for
Belgrano was to evacuate Potosi and retreat south. The Argentine
commander wisely distributed among the people of Potosi, espe-
cially the poor, the stores of his army which would have been too
heavy to carry on a quick retreat.39
On November 18, 1813, the army was ready to leave the Imperial
City. At two o'clock in the afternoon the troops were in formation
in the plaza and the adjacent streets. One hour later Belgrano and
the cavalry departed. The infantry was to follow. Naturally people
had come to the main square and lined the streets to see the
auxiliary army leave. But then something happened. Paz, who had
remained behind with the infantry unit, says that they suddenly
felt an air of mystery which he could not explain. The people in
the streets and the plaza were ordered to leave and go home.
Everyone wondered why. The spectators disobeyed and the Argen-
tine soldiers were commanded to disperse them. But this was to no
avail, and the onlookers ran from one street to another. The soldiers,
the people, and most of the officers were baffled by this strange
order. Then suddenly a new command was given, ordering that
everyone living on the plaza and in the houses near the Casa de
Moneda should immediately evacuate their lodgings and retire to
at least twenty blocks away. They refused, after which they were
told that should they not obey, their lives would be in danger.
This too had no effect. Then finally it was decided to tell them
the truth, to clear up the mystery: the Casa de Moneda was going
to be blown up. Momentary consternation overtook the confused
people and it was impossible for them to comprehend such a horri-

fying action. The crowd still refused to move. The great amount
of dynamite was already in its place.
Diaz Velez had remained behind with his infantry unit in order
to light the fuse. Disregarding the stubbornness of the inhabitants,
it was now decided to light the fuse anyway. This was done and
the heavy gates were closed, but then the huge keys to lock the
gates were missing. Frantically the Argentineans searched for the
keys; someone had hidden them. Time was short; the fuse was
burning and with every second the flame was coming closer to
the explosives. There was no more time to lose. Without finding
the key, the Argentineans started on their rush out of town in order
to be out of danger when the huge and massive building would
go up into the air. But the auxiliaries ran into barricades; the streets
were blocked. At an earlier time Belgrano had wanted to hold
Potosi and the army had closed the streets. Although the plan
was abandoned, the barricades had never been removed. The
auxiliaries were frantic. They rushed back to the plaza in search
of an open street. It was a race against time. At any moment the
Casa de Moneda would explode and bury the center of town and
its inhabitants under the heavy blocks. Luck was with the army,
though, and it found an exit, raced to the outskirts, and didn't stop
until it had reached the silver hill.
Then they realized that nothing had happened. The explosion
had not taken place. Most probably the people of Potosi, seeing
that the gates had not been locked, rushed into the Casa and had
put out the fuse. Whoever had hidden the key knew that the dyna-
miting would take place, and to avoid it had made the key disap-
pear. A terrible catastrophe and probably the complete destruction
of the main part of Potosi had been averted. A captain by the name
of Juan Luna offered to take twenty-five soldiers and ride back to
town and light the fuse again. It was a daring plan, but when he
reached the outskirts of town he realized the impossibility of his raid.
The furious potosinos would have torn him and his soldiers to pieces.
The people of Potosi were raging against Belgrano, who had wanted
to destroy their city. It is probable that they would have pursued the
auxiliary army as they had done with Pueyrred6n, but for their ef-
forts to save the Casa de Moneda and to see to it that nobody tried
to light the dynamite again. The captain and his unit turned
The man who had concealed the key was a trusted auxiliary


officer by the name of Anglada, who was close to Belgrano and
whom the general had appointed commander of Potosi. This An-
glada had fallen under the influence of a lady from Potosi with
Royalist sympathies, who probably persuaded him to betray Bel-
grano. Once his task was accomplished Anglada deserted to the
Royalist side. Although he was a traitor, this officer saved Potosi
from a grave disaster.40
The idea of dynamiting the Casa de Moneda was a monstrous
plan; it was a first-class blunder. Mitre, in his excellent biography
of Belgrano, which undoubtedly is sympathetic to the general, ad-
mits that it was a "barbarous project whose fulfillment would have
done more damage to the prestige of the revolution than to the en-
emy."41 Mitre is right. But many Argentineans hated Potosi and
had not forgotten the massacre of 1811. To them the blowing up of
the Casa de Moneda would not only have deprived the enemy of
this important source of money, but it would have destroyed Potosi
and its inhabitants. When a distinguished Argentine army officer
referred to the potosinos as those "idiotic and bloodthirsty people,"
he only expressed the true feeling of many of his compatriots.42
Without question, however, Belgrano had been ill advised. The
general had done much to heal the wounds left by Castelli's behavior
and Pueyrred6n's thoughtless actions. Of course, his military cam-
paign had been a total failure, too, but the good conduct and stern
discipline of the second auxiliary army had favorably impressed the
people of Potosi and Upper Peru. At the last minute, by wanting to
dynamite the most important source of wealth of the internal prov-
inces and thereby endangering the lives of every inhabitant in Potosi,
Belgrano had ripped wide open the wounds which he had so
successfully healed.
The defeated army crossed into the lower provinces and the
Royalist force invaded the Upper Provinces for a second time. In
Upper Peru only the guerrilla units continued their fight with ever-
increasing tempo. But slowly the situation of the Patriots improved,
and with the coming of 1815 everything took a turn for the better.
The insurrection against the Royalists had spread to Lower Peru,
the very heart of the Viceroyalty of Lima. Guerrilla warfare in
Upper Peru had intensified, and such montoneros as Warnes, Padilla,
Arenales, Lanza, and many others were seriously threatening the
hegemony of the Royalists. San Martin, as the new commander
of the northern army of the United Provinces, had successfully

checked Pezuela around Tucuman. The guerrilla threat in both
Perus and San Martin's able operations forced Pezuela to retreat
into the inner provinces. In the meantime the United Provinces
had finally conquered Montevideo. To everyone a strike into Upper
Peru seemed opportune. Only San Martin, with clear vision and
shrewd military instinct, was aware that the road through Upper
Peru to Lima was a futile one. He was already thinking of con-
quering Lower Peru via Chile.43 He left his command with the
hope of organizing an expeditionary army into Chile. But to less-
enlightened officers the route through Upper Peru looked better
than ever. General Jose Rondeau was chosen to command the third
auxiliary army. He was a simple man, honest, unambitious, and
not well qualified as a soldier.
Rondeau lost valuable time by staying near the border and
showing no enterprise in starting the offensive north. The severe
discipline which Belgrano and San Martin had imposed on the
army of the north went to pieces under the affable Rondeau. He
wished to be moderate and liked by everyone. His troops and
officers called him a "good Joe" or "mama." Finally in April, 1815,
the army started its advance, and on the seventeenth defeated the
enemy in a place called Puesto del Marques, located about thirteen
miles south of the village of La Quiaca, which is today on the
border between Bolivia and Argentina. The victorious troops, in-
stead of pursuing the enemy, celebrated the victory by consuming
a great quantity of liquor found in the enemy's camp. Captain
Jose Maria Paz, who was again an eyewitness of this event, wrote
that he "had never seen a more disgusting picture nor more
complete drunkenness."44 Pezuela and his subordinate colonel,
Pedro Antonio de Olafieta, who soon played a key role in the cre-
ation of Bolivia, decided to retreat far north, evacuating Potosi and
Chuquisaca and concentrating their forces in the centrally located
Oruro. The guerrillas Zarate and Pedro Betanzos, with their Indian
units, occupied Potosi on April 28, where they committed some minor
misdemeanors. Guerrilla Padilla occupied Chuquisaca. On May 1
the third auxiliary army entered Potosi and was given the usual
reception accorded to any army. Colonel Martin Rodriguez and
Captain Jose Maria Paz were sent to take over Chuquisaca.
Castelli had been a tyrant and the people had feared him.
Belgrano had been a thorough general, and had won the inhabi-
tants' admiration, which he lost when he applied the military


principle that the end justifies any means. General Jose Rondeau
was quite different from both. He was good-natured but of weak
character, and as a consequence his troops and officers committed
all kinds of abuses which irritated the people. In Potosi the army
organized a commission of recovery, whose job it was to locate
and confiscate the money and goods of the Royalists who had
escaped town. The commission distinguished itself by its gross
corruption. Captain Paz, who loved honesty and decency, recounts
that a fellow captain by the name of Ferreira told him that one
day when he, the friend, stepped into the room of the commission,
its president, Colonel Quintana, was counting the money.45 Quin-
tana looked up, and then with no inhibition, said to him, "Ferreira,
why don't you take some of these pesos?" Ferreira, astonished at
the proposal, filled both of his hands with pesos. The colonel then
said to Ferreira, "What are you going to do with this? Go ahead
and take more." The captain took out his handkerchief and filled
it with silver coins. Probably Quintana showed the same generosity
to all his friends. Obviously all the employees of the commission
had the first opportunity to loot. Captain Paz thinks that even the
peons shared heavily in the spoils. However, Rondeau showed some
tact and shrewdness when he ordered his troops to camp outside
Potosi on nearby farms.
In Chuquisaca the same dishonesty took place. Commander
Rodriguez also searched for money and valuable goods with the
hope of confiscating them, using as an excuse that they were owned
by Royalists. Captain Paz reports that soldiers and officers were
spending huge sums of money far beyond their salaries. Soldiers
whose pay was low, or at best moderate, suddenly appeared dressed
in rich attire. Officers discarded their sabers and had new ones
made of pure silver. Everybody took part in the plunder, and
lived luxuriously. Only the frantic efforts of three honest officers46
lessened to some extent the immense corruption. It is said by one
chronicler that Commander Rodriguez fostered his ambitions and
vanity by forcing the Intendancy of Chuquisaca to adopt the federal
system of the United Provinces. He then had himself proclaimed
Supreme Director of the province of Chuquisaca, giving a sump-
tuous festival at this inauguration.47
Rondeau was losing valuable time by remaining in Chuquisaca
and Potosi. Furthermore, the morale of his army was practically
going to pieces. The Royalist commander, Pezuela, took advantage


of the breathing spell by reorganizing his army and putting down
the rebellions in Lower Peru, thereby cleaning up his own back
yard and acquiring more troops. If General Rondeau had con-
tinued his advance immediately after his capture of Potosi and
Chuquisaca, he might have accomplished what the other two
expeditionary armies had failed to do, namely, to occupy the whole
of Upper Peru and perhaps penetrate into Lower Peru. But he
lost his chance. Finally, in September the Argentine commander
decided to open an offensive with the hope of conquering Oruro.
Captain Paz writes that the departure from Chuquisaca was scan-
dalous. Everyone including the commander had attended farewell
parties. The march out of town was a parade of drunk soldiers and
officers. Paz, bewildered and disgusted, remarked to some of his
sober friends that "it would be impossible to win." His presentiment
was correct.48
Pezuela was a capable general and his army succeeded in block-
ing the advance of the auxiliary expedition. The offensive bogged
down and the Patriots suffered a minor defeat at Venta Media.
Consequently Rondeau gave up the idea of marching on Oruro
and turned to advance toward Cochabamba. But Pezuela was at
his best in rough mountain territory, and he raced ahead of Rondeau.
The Royalist general then swung around in front of Rondeau before
reaching Cochabamba, which meant that the Argentine army ran
straight into the Royalists in its march on that city. Rondeau either
had to fight or turn around and retreat over rough territory to
Potosi or Chuquisaca. The Argentine general decided to fight.
On November 29, 1815, the armies opened battle on the plains
of Sipe Sipe.49 Rondeau was completely routed. It was the worst
defeat the Patriots suffered during the whole war. The entire
Argentine expedition was torn to pieces and retreated in complete
confusion. Each soldier took his own road, to wherever he thought
was best. The auxiliary army of General Rondeau vanished from
the battlefield. The general behaved valiantly, and to the end
showed courage and calmness. He walked with two or three offi-
cers, having no contact with his troops, from the battlefield to
Chuquisaca. Rondeau covered two hundred and sixty miles in
eighteen days and arrived at the capital alone. Then he realized
that his army had nearly vanished. But in Chuquisaca the general
was successful in gathering some soldiers who had taken the same
road. With this fragmentary force he began his march back to the


United Provinces, bypassing Potosi and Tarija. No auxiliary army
had ever returned in such bad shape. Castelli and Belgrano had
been defeated, but had returned home carrying the riches of Potosi.
The Royalists by one shrewd stroke, thanks to the ability of General
Pezuela, had reconquered all of Upper Peru. However they showed
a wise reluctance to invade the United Provinces. Again only the
guerrillas remained to maintain the war. The continuous defeats
of the expeditionary forces caused the guerrillas to lose confidence
in them, and disrespect for the Argentineans became noticeable.
On his retreat Rondeau wrote to the guerrilla leader Padilla,
requesting him to continue the fighting and to harass the enemy
whenever possible, and promised that his army would return. The
Argentine commander finished his letter by asking Padilla to double
his efforts and to use all available means in fighting the enemy.50
Padilla was annoyed with the request and on December 21, 1815,
from Laguna, he answered Rondeau in an angry letter which con-
stitutes a landmark in Bolivian history.51 The letter was cruel and
frank; it showed with perfect clarity Padilla's annoyance which had
accumulated slowly over a period of time. The guerrilla leader
started his letter by saying, "You order me to attack the enemy,
from whose hand you have received a most shameful defeat."
Padilla then continued, saying that surely he would go on fighting
the enemy as he had done for more than five years. He reminded
Rondeau that all the people in Upper Peru had fought and suffered,
too, for many years, but that this was not their only misfortune,
since they had to witness the "infamy and mockery of the armies
of Buenos Aires."
Padilla continued by saying that these armies had not only
ignored the merits of the Upper Peruvian Patriots, but even worse,
they had ridiculed and insulted them. The guerrilla from Laguna
stated that "thousands of examples of horror could be cited which
had irritated the people," and which had been caused by the
expeditionaries. Then the fearless writer enumerated some of them.
From the very beginning rivalries had existed between the guerrilla
units and the auxiliary armies. Such montoneros as Centeno,
Cardenas, and he, Padilla, at one time or other had been arrested
by the Argentineans. Padilla thought that the real reason for these
arrests was nothing more than the jealousy of the Argentine com-
manders and officers. The partisan leader continued his irate letter
by saying emphatically that "the government of Buenos Aires has

shown only a filthy distrust for our people which has hurt the honor
of the inhabitants," and the consequence of this abominable beha-
vior was that the Argentine occupation was as bad as or worse than
the Spanish rule. The guerrilla called attention to the fact that
whenever the expeditionary forces were able to occupy Upper
Peruvian territory, it was because of the decisive help they had
received from its inhabitants. But instead of being grateful, the
expeditionaries had sacked their homes and cities.
The dean of the Charcas montoneros continued his answer with
many more harsh lines. He reminded Rondeau especially that
although the Argentineans were then running away, they were so
bold as to request the guerrillas to come out and fight the enemy
in order to protect "the cowardliness of your army." And Padilla
assured the Argentine commander "that the enemy shall not have
a moment of rest." The final lines were of a conciliatory mood in
which the writer reminded his correspondent that the guerrillas and
people of Charcas were honest and of a forgiving nature, and were
very willing to forget past excesses. Padilla stated that he did not
doubt that when the Argentineans came back they would be re-
ceived with open arms. Yet he bluntly advised the Argentine
general to impress upon his government that the next time it
sent an army, it should respect the people's customs, have good
and decent authority, and under no circumstances bring officers
who wished to steal, and were proud or cowardly. If this advice
were followed the guerrilla leader thought that all the provinces
could be united in one big Patria. The writer concluded his letter
by saying "there is still time for remedy but if not, then .
With the word "then" and the four dots the letter ends.
What Padilla meant was that if his advice were not followed,
the inner provinces would depart from the Plata union and take
a different road. That is what finally happened. The guerrilla
leader proved by this letter to be a sharp observer. Among the
partisans of Charcas he was probably the most enlightened and
intellectually best equipped.52 He clearly foresaw the creation of
an independent Upper Peru, if the free provinces continued their
unintelligent policy with regard to the occupied inner provinces.
But since Padilla was ahead of his time he was well aware that
the sentiment for separation was not yet prevalent, and therefore
his classic remark, "There is still time for remedy." In his letter
the partisan commander also showed that he did not want a separate

Upper Peru. Although in the first part he cruelly enumerated the
past abuses of the Argentineans, in the latter part of the letter he
practically pleaded with the general to see to it that all this be
remedied, because if not, it would be impossible to avoid the conse-
quences. Padilla wanted to thwart what he probably thought
would be a tragic event: the splitting up of the upper and lower
provinces. Consequently the guerrilla from Laguna was not "the
precursor of the Bolivian nation," as one Bolivian historian has
interpreted this letter,53 but rather a shrewd observer who was the
first Upper Peruvian to foresee the course that the inner provinces
might be forced to take.
The battle of Sipe Sipe was definitely a turning point in the
history of Charcas. Before Sipe Sipe it is hardly possible to detect
sentiments, or even one voice, in favor of the separation and inde-
pendence of Upper Peru. Rondeau's defeat marks the beginning
of this desire to part ways. Padilla felt it, as did the great San
Martin. The Bolivian chronicler, Manuel Maria Urculla, cofounder
of Bolivia, and the great Argentine leader and historian, Bartolome
Mitre, were well aware of it.54 But the wish for independence was
not overwhelming; only isolated seeds had been planted and even
they had not yet germinated. The great number of guerrillas still
looked to the free provinces for help and inspiration. The majority
of these partisans had not even come in contact with the auxiliary
armies, and were fighting their own private war. The well-to-do
classes were inclined to favor the Royalists rather than the Patriots.
Many sincere Patriots had emigrated from the upper provinces and
had gone to the free provinces where they fell under the influence
of the Argentine system. The lower classes, Indians especially, were
inert or of changing allegiance. A well-equipped and victorious
fourth auxiliary army under a popular general, such as San Martin,
could have wiped out the separatist and anti-Argentine sentiment.
But after Rondeau's enormous defeat no expeditionary army came
up again, and from 1816 until the end of the war the inner
provinces were left to their own resources. In 1816 the Royalist
army began its great sweep to wipe out the guerrillas. Aid from
Argentina was not forthcoming even in that critical year.
The year 1816 marks the beginning of the great anarchy in the
United Provinces, an anarchy which made it impossible to organize
a new campaign into the occupied inner provinces. Besides, it was
then thought, in view of the continual defeats of the auxiliary

armies, that the road via Chile into Lower Peru was more suitable,
as indeed it proved to be. Because of these cumulative factors
the army of the north, also known as the army of Upper Peru, again
under the command of Belgrano, never started its offensive against
Charcas, but rather was on the defensive under the impact of the
renewed invasions of the Royalist army from Upper Peru. Only
once, in 1817, did a small contingent of about a hundred and fifty
men, under the adventurous Colonel Gregorio Araoz de la Madrid,
execute a raid behind the Spanish lines into the upper provinces.
La Madrid, a daring soldier with absolutely no ability for military
strategy, disobeyed his orders and decided to make an epic march.
He surprised Tarija and then sneaked up to Chuquisaca, where he
halted his small contingent at the very door of the presidential
house of the Audiencia of Charcas. But the president, obviously
astonished to see an Argentine unit in the midst of the capital,
quickly recovered and forced La Madrid to leave Chuquisaca and
retreat all the way back to northern Argentina.55 This was hardly
an assault, but only a disjointed raid,56 which added nothing to
Argentine prestige, except to show that another unqualified Argen-
tine commander went on a foolish, useless rampage, merely to
write an epic and glorify his name.
Not until 1820 did Salta and Tucumain demand vehemently the
organization of a new auxiliary army with the hope of avoiding
further Spanish invasions from Charcas.57 Since the beginning of
the war, armies from that area had penetrated the free provinces
nine times.58 But nothing definite was done, and when the army
was finally ready to move in 1825, it was far too late59 since the
Bolivarian army under Marshal Sucre had already defeated the
last remnants of the Spanish legions.
The abuses of the three auxiliary armies and the abandonment
of the inner provinces were the main causes of Charcas' separation
from the Argentine union. From 1809 until 1825 Upper Peru fought
a bitter war against the Spanish forces. Argentine aid until 1816
was no help, and its armies turned out to be one more enemy
instead of an ally. For the next nine years the occupied provinces
were abandoned to their own fate, and alone they had to fight
the war against the Spanish enemy. Once victorious, they also
wanted to guide their destiny alone. The spirit of independence
was created during the war. If the United Provinces had liberated
their inner occupied provinces during the early or middle stages

of the war, an independent Bolivia would never have emerged.
But the failure to do this in addition to the behavior of the expe-
ditionary forces killed any chance of a reunion of the lower and
inner provinces. The history of the auxiliary armies constitutes a
vital link in the creation of Bolivia.60

e4etoet 4


HUQUISACA, CALLED LA PLATA by the Royalists, was
the capital of the vast Audiencia of Charcas. It
was a proud and picturesque town, isolated from the stream of
world events. Chuquisaca had been founded in 15391 by a dis-
tinguished conquistador with a delightful name, Pedro Anzuirez
de Camporendondo. When the fabulous mines of Potosi began to
deliver their prodigious wealth, the prosperous miners settled in
nearby Chuquisaca. The city became the seat of an audiencia and
an archdiocese, and, in 1624, the university was established there.
Chuquisaca is located in mountainous territory, surrounded by a
beautiful landscape that shows neither the aridness of Potosi nor
the opulence of Cochabamba. The climate is mild and pleasantly
dry. The city, situated at the foot of two steep hills, is long and
narrow, and has many churches, pretty houses, and a wide and
spacious plaza. After Mexico City and Lima it had more "colossal
fortunes"2 than any other city in the colonies. It considered itself
the guardian and garden of Potosi, and Potosi was Spain's pride.
Chuquisaca was a haughty town because its people thought that
it was especially commanded by the king to preserve and stimu-
late the imperial city of Potosi. No other town in the Spanish
colonies was more proud and conceited than Chuquisaca. Its
audiencia ignored and even scorned the viceroys in Lima and
Buenos Aires, and felt completely self-sufficient, responsible only
to God and the king.3
Approximately 13,000 inhabitants lived in Chuquisaca at the
end of the eighteenth century. Of these 4,000 were Spaniard,

3,000 mestizo, 4,500 Indian, and 1,500 Negro and mulatto.4 The
Spaniards were either gachupines (those born in Spain) or criollos.
They lived pleasantly, effortlessly, and uneventfully. They formed
part of the bureaucratic apparatus always present at the seat of an
audiencia, of the elaborate ecclesiastic hierachy existent in the
capital of an archdiocese, and of the university, faculty and students.
Some were active in the cabildo, others managed their estates, while
not a few took continual delight in fighting lawsuits, the favorite
pastime of Chuquisaca. There was an abundance of lawyers. It
was an arrogant group, extremely conservative and provincial. All
maintained that they came from distinguished families in Spain.
This was the inner core of Chuquisaca, but it was neither united
nor homogeneous, for there were the usual differences between the
peninsulares and criollos. The core was divided into many strata,
each looking with disdain on the ones beneath.5 The whites formed
an isolated group in an isolated town, and there was a complete
absence of new blood. The only newcomers to the town were the
many students from throughout the viceroyalty, and it was they
who brought the spirit of revolution. The narrow provincialism of
Chuquisaca created what is known as the mentalidad altoperuana,
Upper Peruvian mentality, or as one author has put it, the "col-
lective psychology of Upper Peru."6 This characteristic was more
pronounced in Chuquisaca than in any other place in Charcas.
It is difficult to enumerate the characteristics of this mentality.
Gabriel Ren6-Moreno, Bolivia's superb and only great historian,
was unfortunately a dedicated racist.7 To him it was "a perverse
tendency toward scheming and quarrels" and represented a love
for "gossip and mischievous lies."8 He believed that the reason for
this lay in the fact that the mixture between Indians and Spaniards
was a bad one and resulted in individuals with false personalities.
His basic belief was the "unquestionable superiority of the white
race."9 The Indian was false and the whites, either through Indian
blood or through close contact, had absorbed his duplicity. Even
to the leftist writer, Tristan Marof, the racial aspect is the vital cause
of this morbid mentality.10 The communist writer, Roberto Alva-
rado, prefers an economic explanation: that the inhabitants did not
expend their natural energies in the profitable and healthy occu-
pations such as tilling the soil."1 The nationalist writer, Carlos
Montenegro, attributes the psychology of the Upper Peruvians to
extreme individuality.12 The modern poet of Sucre, Joaquin Gan-


tier, himself a patrician and a product of conservative Chuquisaca,
admits that "unquestionably the Upper Peruvian was deceitful,
false, shrewd, and intricate," but that on the other hand he also
was "extremely sentimental."13
The Upper Peruvian mentality seems to be more the result of
an extreme provincialism, caused by the "Andean enclosure"14 of
Chuquisaca, and aggravated by a false and distorted feeling of the
importance of their town, together with the lack of any profitable
economic enterprise. This gave rise to a peculiar character, given
to loose play with ambiguous words and phrases in which the
individual rarely came straight out for one or the other side, but
rather manipulated all beliefs, never deciding for anyone. The
classic appraisal of Ren6-Moreno, calling it dos caras (two-faced),15
has much truth in it. The elementary explanation of Sim6n Ro-
driguez (the brilliant teacher who went to Chuquisaca to establish
a model school and failed) that it was an extreme egoism is an
oversimplification.16 The racist expositions of Rene-Moreno and
Alcides Arguedas make little sense today. Rene-Moreno's sketch
of the Upper Peruvian mentality is correct and sincere, but his
reasons for it are erroneous. In brief, the society of Chuquisaca
was sophistical and motivated by an unhealthy conservatism.
A member of this conservative and unenterprising society at
the end of the eighteenth century was a certain gentleman by the
name of Miguel de Olafieta. He was an ultrainarino,17 from over-
seas, a peninsular. Miguel's brother Pedro Antonio, lived in Salta.
Miguel and Pedro18 came from distinguished stock of the village
of Elqueta in the Spanish province of Guipuscoa. Don Miguel's
mother came from the same region, belonging to the Marquiegui
family. Miguel, proud of his Spanish nativity, went to Spain in
search of a wife,19 but he came back empty-handed. He then
married a criolla, Dofia Rafaela de Giiemes of La Plata, daughter
of Francisco de Giiemes of Burgos, Spain, and Dofia Antonia Pru-
dencia Martierena of the town of Yavi in the province of Chichas,
near Potosi. Don Miguel's newly acquired mother-in-law was the
daughter of the local Marquis of Toxo.20 Don Miguel and his
wife, Dofia Rafaela, had only Spanish blood in their veins and
had avoided the mixture of Indian blood. Their life in Chuquisaca
was uneventful, and they did not have to worry about earning a
living. Neither husband nor wife knew what hard work meant.
The wife's family was wealthy and Dofia Rafaela inherited most


of the fortune of her parents.21 Don Miguel became a regidor of
the ayuntamiento,22 which represented the average ambition of any
distinguished citizen. Naturally his position on the cabildo did not
absorb all his time, and he dedicated some of his spare hours to
business ventures in La Plata and Potosi.23 Many lawsuits and
the management of nearby farms helped him break the monotony.24
Miguel de Olafieta and his wife were the very picture of the typical
aristocracy of Chuquisaca. From patrician families, trying to main-
tain their pure blood, and with no financial worries, they acquired
whatever means they had not through private enterprise but rather
through inheritance. His post on the ayuntamiento gave him stature
and prestige; he did a little business and as a side line he supervised
estates. Like him and his wife were many others in Chuquisaca and
all over the colony.
On March 3, 1795, about ten years after their marriage, a very
fragile son was born to the Olafietas, and it was feared that he
would not see the light of the world for many hours or days. He
survived, but two days after his birth his mother, Dofia Rafaela,
died. Her death certificate says "she died suddenly without re-
ceiving the sacraments." She must have been a sick woman with
a presentiment of her death. On January 22, only a month before
her son's birth, she made her will "in case I do not survive the
birth of my forthcoming son or daughter."25
The baby grew strong, and on April 7 was baptized by the
famous archbishop, San Alberto, and was given the name of Josef
Joaquin Casimiro.26 He was Casimiro Olafieta, to become one of
Bolivia's greatest and most powerful figures. Casimiro spent his
youth in his native Chuquisaca and little is known about those
years. Although he later acquired a powerful pen, he never wrote
the story of his life, and even if he had it might be of little value
since he was a master in lying and boasting.
Young Casimiro who was not sent by his father to the University
of San Francisco Xavier in Chuquisaca, which was the most famous
institution in the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, but to the Colegio
Real Convictorio de Nuestra Sefiora de Montserrat at C6rdoba
(Argentina). At the time this was a conservative school. As was
customary in the colonies, one had to prove that one was a Christian,
"clean of Jewish and Moorish race, not convicted by the Holy
Office, and of legitimate matrimony," in order to enter. This was
strictly enforced at Montserrat. Casimiro entered Montserrat in

1809, the year the War of Independence started in Charcas. Why
his father sent him to C6rdoba, instead of entering him at San
Francisco in their own home town, remains a matter of speculation.
One Bolivian author believes that the Olafieta family was aware
of the radical spirit that was becoming noticeable at San Francisco
in the first decade of the new century. They were determined not
to send Casimiro into this nest of subversives. Therefore the con-
servative school at C6rdoba was chosen as being better suited to
their philosophy.27 Besides, Casimiro's uncle, Pedro Antonio de
Olafieta, had settled in Salta where he had become a successful and
respectable businessman.
Montserrat had some excellent teachers, such as the venerable
Dean Funes.28 Among the fellow students of Casimiro were the
sons of Viceroy Liniers, the son of the Royalist General Jose de
C6rdova, and Jose Maria Paz.29 Liniers and C6rdova were shot
by Castelli in 1810 and undoubtedly Casimiro witnessed the plight
and sadness of their sons. The students at the college saw the
imprisoned leaders of the La Paz revolt when they were brought
through C6rdoba on the way to Buenos Aires. The real feelings
of the student Casimiro Olafieta are not known. By 1810 the
faculty at the college was sharply divided between the Royalists
and the Patriots. Casimiro Olafieta's later identification with the
Royalist cause would seem to indicate that he had little sympathy
for the Patriots. In later years when Olafieta, then the most power-
ful politician in Bolivia, was accused of having been a "godo per-
tinaz,"30 he defended himself by saying that when he was at C6r-
doba, "at the age of fifteen I was so fanatic for the liberty of my
country that any kind of persecution of the Spaniards did not
satisfy my desire. I did not admit weakness in this matter."31 But
Olafieta was a master prevaricator, and the fact that he emphasized
his early patriotism so much is a good indication that he was the
very opposite.
Later Casimiro returned to his native Chuquisaca. Probably his
father requested that he leave the college, which, after 1810, was
located in the free provinces and accepted the new order. Casimiro
himself said that he went back to Chuquisaca after the victory of
Salta won by Belgrano in 1813. But in the next line he stated that
Belgrano imprisoned him, his sole crime being that of his name.32
His father fled Chuquisaca when the second auxiliary army
was on its march to occupy the capital. After Belgrano's retreat,

Casimiro enrolled at the University of San Francisco which by then
had been cleansed of the subversive elements. In March, 1814,
Casimiro received his bachelor's degree in canon law.33 Two months
later, on May 24, he entered the Carolina Academy, which was
the "forum of Upper Peru,"34 where graduates were trained in law
to prepare them especially to work before or with the audiencia.
To enroll, one had to pass a difficult entrance examination and
swear loyalty to the King and the Catholic religion. At the time
that Casimiro entered the academy its headmaster was the famous,
able, shrewd, archconservative Pedro Vicente Cafiete. Cafiete
was a thorough Royalist, although he was a criollo born in Asun-
ci6n.35 Undoubtedly he would not have tolerated any pupil at the
academy about whom he had even the slightest suspicion of
allegiance to the Patriot cause. Only known Royalists could enter
this conservative school. Casimiro Olafieta passed the entrance
examination in good standing. He was questioned for half an hour
about chapter two, title nine, book two, of the Justinian code of
law. He knew it thoroughly.36
Casimiro's training was interrupted when the third auxiliary
army under Rondeau occupied the capital. He fled to the Royalist
headquarters at Oruro. There resided the commander, General
Pezuela, and his lieutenant, Colonel Pedro Antonio Olafieta, who
were reorganizing the Spanish army. Colonel Olafieta was Casi-
miro's father's brother, the cunning businessman who had lived in
Salta, shipping all kinds of goods to and from Upper Peru, espe-
cially between Potosi and Buenos Aires. When the war had started
Pedro Antonio, a man of great physical ability and a fanatic con-
servative, had offered his services to the Royalist army.3" Because
of his great knowledge of Upper Peru, his extraordinary contacts,
and his sharp mind he moved up in the army quickly. He showed
excellent military talent, especially for organization and logistics.
Casimiro joined his uncle who probably provided him with a job.
When Rondeau's army was completely defeated, Casimiro Olafieta
returned to Chuquisaca to continue his training at the Academy.
He petitioned the audiencia for an assistantship in order that he
might engage in legal practice and observe the workings of that
body, and his application was approved. Casimiro must have been
an able student and a smooth worker, since he was soon named
secretary of the academy,38 the highest honor which a student in
Charcas could achieve. Everything seemed to indicate that the


young graduate student was destined for a brilliant career.
In 1817 Casimiro felt that he had acquired enough legal expe-
rience and requested admission to the final bar examination, which
was granted. On May 19 he took his oral examination and was
assigned to debate a minor inheritance case before the audiencia
as his test question. He passed the examination "faultlessly and
successfully."39 Once admitted as a candidate for a degree, he
then had to take an oath of allegiance to the Catholic religion and
pay the necessary graduation fee. After this he was given his
diploma of law and became a full-fledged lawyer.40 After receiving
his degree Casimiro Olafieta dedicated himself to his law career
with enthusiasm, proficiency, and extreme shrewdness, He made
a phenomenal rise in the conservative and exceedingly suspicious
audiencia. In 1818 Olafieta became criminal attorney of the audi-
encia, and soon was given more responsible positions, such as
associate judge, civil attorney, attorney in the office of Indian
protection, as well as attorney in the census office.41 These were
positions which usually went to established and experienced lawyers.
Five letters of recommendation in the Olafieta files, from high
Spanish administrative officials,42 show that he was admired and
respected and that everyone thought that he had extraordinary
talents and a pleasant personality, and that he was a faithful servant
of the Spanish crown. One official thought that he was "prudent,
sagacious, and political," and that in his work he was "quick and
clever."43 Another wrote that he was an "excelling individual" and
that he was "zealous in the cause of His Majesty and the nation,"
and that because of his extraordinary qualities Casimiro Olafieta
had obtained the best positions which usually go to a man with
much more service.44 In 1820 Casimiro Olafieta requested a leave
of absence from the audiencia in order to rejoin his uncle,45 Pedro
Antonio de Olafieta, who had been promoted to general and who
was the new Royalist commander in Upper Peru. Casimiro seem-
ingly left for Tupiza where General Olafieta had his headquarters.46
From 1820 until 1824 very little is known about Casimiro Olafieta.
He maintained his position on the audiencia but he also began his
career of conspiracy and backstage politics and treason, which he
kept up until his death in 1860.
Until 1820 nothing in Casimiro's career indicates a single breath
of sympathy for the cause of the Patriots, although he later stated
that when he was fifteen years old he was fanatic for the cause


of freedom and the Patriots. As a matter of fact, his behavior and
statements showed an absolute allegiance to and partisanship toward
the Royalists. There is not a word, sentence, or any other evidence
of concern for the fate of the native guerrillas. As one modem
biographer of Olafieta rightly stated, "To the aristocratic Olafieta
the native guerrillas were of no worth; they were poor and igno-
rant."47 Casimiro Olafieta was no soldier nor hero of the war. He
was a thorough Royalist, from a conservative family. His father's
brother was the Royalist commander of Upper Peru. But Casimiro
Olafieta was a genius in shrewdness, an unsurpassed intriguer, and a
man with remarkable foresight.
In view of his later career of continuous plotting,48 a pattern
of behavior becomes noticeable. First of all, he had made himself
acceptable to the people, next he brought the key person under
his influence, and finally he dominated and manipulated him. With
his phenomenal foresightedness he knew exactly when the cause
or person he was supporting was losing popularity. When discontent
was still in an embryonic stage he opened relations with the oppo-
sition from behind the scenes. At the appropriate time he betrayed
the cause he had supported and swung to full support of its enemies.
Olafieta then repeated the same game, over and over.49 Later he
not only acted in the realm of national politics, but was so unscrupu-
lous as to make contact with foreign powers and invite them to
attack Bolivia.50 At the right moment, when the invaders lost
popularity, he waved the Bolivian flag again. In this way he
brought to power almost all Bolivian presidents who held office
during his lifetime; at the same time he organized most of the
revolutions against them, and twice he invited Peru to invade
Bolivia. He always worked in the background, and wrote little,
so that no definite proof could be used against him and he could
deny any charge.51 When someone accused him he came back
with his famous Exposiciones and Folletos,52 his sole writings. In
them he showed that his accusers had nothing to prove and could
only make intangible accusations, and then he paraded one extrava-
gant lie after the other. His model was Talleyrand, whose name
he could not even spell.53
By 1820 the Royalist cause was weakening. In the next year
a definite crisis was noticeable. Before that time the Spanish army
had been in firm control in both Perus. The threat from Argentina
had been repelled, anarchy was prevalent in the Plata provinces,

and the guerrilla threat in Upper Peru had been checked. There
was little reason to doubt that the doom of the Patriots was likely.
Casimiro Olafieta had no reason at all not to be a Royalist. His
background and the favorable situation of the Spaniards made this
course profitable. The surprising victory of San Martin in Chile
changed the whole picture. From there the war was carried into
Lower Peru, the great sanctuary of the Royalists. Military defeat
resulted in dissatisfaction within the Spanish army, whose command
until then had been thought to be efficient. A group of young offi-
cers rebelled against the old guard. In 1821 they deposed the
viceroy, Pezuela, whose early military victories had been rewarded
with the viceregal post. Yet everything was unchanged in Upper
Peru, and the sense of security that the Royalists experienced in
Charcas since the defeat of the auxiliary army was in no way
abating. In Upper Peru the control of the Spaniards was stronger
than in any place else. However, although few people realized it,
the situation in Upper Peru was precarious. The fate of this
region was completely tied to that of Lower Peru. If the heart of
the Viceroyalty of Lima were lost, then the fall of Charcas would
be only a question of time. Doubtless Casimiro Olafieta under-
stood this and was well aware of the change taking place; he
realized that the Royalist cause was no longer secure, as the local
picture indicated, but rather, that it was weakening fast.
In all probability Casimiro Olafieta began to open contacts with
the Patriots about 1820. The young lawyer started his double-
faced career. In his first Exposicion he wrote that he joined the
revolution before the battle of Maypui and Chacabuco,54 which
is without question a gross exaggeration, since in 1818 he was
rising fast in the audiencia. Then he stated that the president of
Charcas, Rafael Maroto, prosecuted him for sympathizing with the
enemy. No document in the complete files of the audiencia or in
Olafieta's university file indicates anything of this nature. If this
had been the case he would never have kept his position in the
audiencia, which he did until 1824.
Olafieta went even further; he had the temerity to write that
when San Martin landed in Peru, he wanted to help the invading
forces from Chuquisaca, but lacked the means. He affirmed that
he did distribute Patriot propaganda sent to him from Lima
via Tacna.55 Again he stated that Maroto wanted to bring him to
trial, but that he escaped and went to his uncle's headquarters in

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