Peruvian Revolution

By Will Feil and Justin Antunes


19th Century Peru

Before the War of Independence in Peru, the country was run by the Criollo. This oligarchy got special privileges granted by the Spanish for remaining loyal to them. The Natives still had little rights at the time being on the bottom of the social class. But the main group that wanted the independence, was the white Creoles who didn’t have a say in government. This was the drive they needed to get this revolution to happen. This mentality only picked up as they started to win battles. This was the first step towards democracy because in order to have democracy they need to become independent, and in order to become independent you have to have the drive to want it.

Junta Movements

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These Junta movements were small uprisings in Peru that led to the push for independence in Peru. These Juntas were Patriot groups who opposed the Spanish Royalists. These Peruvian Juntas had to expeditions during their time. One, a short lived movement led by the Natives in Huanuco, involving various leaders. This movement only lasted a few weeks. The other movement was a year long movement between 1814-1815. This movement was between the Constitution Cabildo and the Audiencia of Cuzco. After this movement was being appealed by the Criollo and after a series of battles, this movement was finally squashed. These movements helped inspire the people of Peru to gain independence. These movements represent the first physical actions in the process to become an independent, democratic nation.

Rise of Jose de San Martin

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Jose de San Martin was an excellent war general who helped liberate the areas of Peru and Chile as well as Argentina. He had just won the Battle of Maipu for the Chilean Patriots which helped solidify their independence. This made him a good candidate to lead the Peruvian Patriots into their own battle for independence. Without Martin, the independence of Peru may have not been accomplished until decades later, making him an intricate part of the war for independence in Peru.

Preperation and Early Battles for Independence

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As the Peruvian Patriots had chosen Martin to be their army general on land, they also need someone to direct their Navy. This person was Thomas Alexander Cochrane. Cochrane was a British politician and a decorated Naval commander who was also a major factor for the Patriot side. Chile helped fund most of the war for the Peruvian Patriots. On the 7th of September the Patriots arrived at the Bay of Pisco and captured it the next day. After this quick and commanding victory the Viceroyalty tried to negotiate the capture of the port. This was a major momentum boost for the Patriots to kick off the war. This is still showing the begining of the physical side of wanting to be the independent, democratic nation.

Battle at Cerro de Pasco

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The Battle at Cerro de Pasco was another big victory for the Patriots. This attack led by General Arenales defeated a Royalist division sent by the Viceroyalty of Pezuela. In this battle commander Cochrane delivered a massive blow to the Royalist navy by capturing the Esmeralda. The Esmeralda was the massive Spanish warship, equipped with 44 guns. It signified another major momentum boost for the Patriots. This was just another little step toward the goal of democracy by coming a little closer to independence.

Patriot Push into Lima

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Just before the Patriots began their push into Lima, there was a Viceroyalty change on the Royalist side. Cochrane saw this as an opportunity to attack and he executed perfectly. He attacked the Royalist ports of Arica and Tacna, driving the Viceroyalty out of Lima. They did leave behind a garrison to prevent the Patriots from entering. They attempted to do this by using Real Felipe Fortress, fort guarding Lima. San Martin entered Lima two days later and defeated the garrison, winning the final battle of the Peruvian War of Independence. This was a big step in the path to democracy because they were able to defeat the Spanish Royalists and win the physical battle for independence.

Declaration of Independence in Peru

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After pushing the Viceroyalty out of Lima, San Martin invited the citizens of Lima to swear oath to the independence. Manuel Pérez de Tudela wrote the Act of Independence and at the Plaza Mayor of Lima, famous plaza in Lima, the Declaration of Independence was announced by Jose de San Martin on July 28th, 1821. This completed their independence and brought them half way to their ultimate goal of a democracy.


In South America the growth of democracy occured in a way similar to that of a chain reaction. Peru was just another part of the process, once the ball started rolling it didn’t stop. Once the junta movements occured in another part of South America other places caught on like Peru and did the same thing. This was one step. Jose de San Martin made the process faster with his briliance in the militaristic field. Eventually the people of Peru were independent free of Spanish rule and a democracy was put in place.


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"Independence Imposed from without." Country Studies. U.S. Lib. of Cong., n.d.

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