- Rider(s):San Martin, José de
(1778 –1850) was born in Argentine and went to Spain at an early age for his (military) education. He served for two decades in the Spanish army, rising to lieutenant colonel of cavalry and fighting for three years against Napoleon’s troops. On his return to Buenos Aires in 1812, he switched to fighting against Spain by joining the troops of the United Provinces of the Rio del Plata (present day Argentine). Commanding the Army of the North he came to the conclusion that the key to securing the independence of the United Provinces lay in the conquest of Peru, the bastion of Spanish power. He formed and trained a new army, the Army of the Andes, crossed with 5,000 troops the high passes of the Andes and liberated Chile by defeating the Royalist Army. Three years later he set sail to Lima to attack there successfully the Spanish stronghold. San Martin was appointed Protector of Peru and the Peruvian independence was declared. Bolivar took over the task of fully liberating Peru after a closed-door meeting with San Martin in July 1822. He had more troops, because of his powerful position in Gran Colombia, and as San Martin stated “there is not enough room in Peru for Bolivar and me”. The details of the meeting with Bolivar would be a subject of much debate by later historians. San Martin, a decent, moderate man, probably realized himself that dictatorial government might be essential in South America, but he was not the person impose it. Bolivar suffered no such constraints. San Martin resigned the command of his army, withdrew from politics and the military, and moved to France in 1824, where he died in 1850. Worldwide there are at least 57 equestrian statues of José de San Martin including at least 44 replicas, most of them being copies of the statue in Buenos Aires.
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