A Look at the Peruvian War of Independence

When you study Spanish in Peru, you can see landmarks and historical sites pertaining to the Peruvian War of Independence. This war began in 1809 and ended in 1821 when Jose de San Martin proclaimed independence for the area. Although this war is now a distant memory for Peru, before you attend Spanish school in Lima it is a good idea to learn about how this event shaped the history of the country.

To understand the Peruvian War of Independence it is first useful to look at the Peninsular War, which took place in the early 1800's between France and Spain, the UK and Portugal. This war severely damaged Spain's economy and, as a result, the country's central authority and influence over Latin America was lost. Different juntas rose up in various regions of Latin America. At the time, Jose Fernando de Abascal y Sousa was the viceroyal of Peru. He decided to put together armies to stop the various uprisings in Upper Peru. His goal was to add Upper Peru to his viceroyalty so that rich merchants could make more money through trading.

It is interesting to note that Peru stayed royalist longer than the other South American countries. The royalists were supporters of the Spanish Monarchy. However, autonomous governments emerged over the years. Those in Buenos Aires encouraged these activities. For years whenever a rebellion in Peru occurred, it seems it was quickly suppressed.

General San Martin sought to liberate Peru through diplomatic tactics. He sent people to Lima to negotiate for Peru's independence, but this approach was unsuccessful. Later San Martin met with Jose de la Serna who was the viceroyal of Peru. When San Martin suggested a constitutional monarchy, it was turned down. San Martin occupied Lima in 1821, and declared Peru's independence on July 28 of that year. To this day, San Martin is recognized as "the protector of Peru."

However, Spain did not recognize Peru's independence, and conflicts continued. In 1824, Simon Bolivar and his lieutenant assembled an army at the Lake of Junin in the mountains. The Battle of Junin was quite monumental because about 500 Spanish soldiers were either killed or taken prisoner. This situation had a huge psychological impact on Spain and the royalists. About 3000 soldiers defected, deserted, or became too ill to fight as a consequence of the Battle of Junin.. It was at the Battle of Ayacucho that the patriots were truly victorious in ending Spanish rule. This was considered to be a very decisive battle.

When you study Spanish in Peru, there are a variety of history museums and landmarks you can visit to learn more about the important historical events of the region. Some recommended sites include the Archaeological museum Rafael Larco Herrer, which is located in a beautiful old mansion. This museum showcases the largest selection of pre-columbian art in the world. Another place to visit is the Museo Oro del Peru or Gold Museum. If you are planning to attend Spanish school in Lima, also don't miss the city's impressive landmarks including the Plaza de Armas and the Iglesia and Museo de San Francisco.

ECELA Lima offers Spanish language courses in Lima, Peru year-round. For more information on studying Spanish in Peru => http://www.ecela.com/

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