José Francisco de San Martín

by Marina from Buenos Aires

José Francisco de San Martin is a hero not only for me, but for lots of people in Argentina, Chile and Perú. He made us independent from the Spanish kingdom and was a brilliant example as a military man and as a person.

He was born in Yapeyu, Corrientes, Argentina on February 25th. His father, Juan José de San Martin y Gómez, was a Spanish soldier who had been appointed department governor. In 1786, José Francisco went to Spain with his family. There, he studied and, in 1789, started his military career in the regiment of Murcia. As Spain was in war against France, he served in the army and in 1808, fought against Napoleon ´s army. When he learned about the South American dream of independence, he decided to resign his career in Spain and came to our country.

Argentina accepted his help, and he created the regiment of "Mounted Grenadiers". On February, 3rd, in 1813, San Martin's army defeated the Spaniards at San Lorenzo. In 1814, the military took control of the Northern Army. Being the governor of Cuyo province, he sent a delegation with instructions to insist on the Declaration of Independence at the Congress, in 1816. Finally ,on July 9th, "Del Río de la Plata United Provinces" (the original name of Argentina), was declared free. In 1817, he began an expedition through the Andes mountains to Chile, and then to Lima (in Perú) by ship, to defeat Spanish power. After his victory in Chacabuco battle, he entered Chile. In Maipu battle Chile was liberated. On August 20th, he sailed with the Argentine-Chilean army to Peru, where is appointed governor and Peru's Protector. After quitting only one month later, he went back to Chile and then to Argentina. In 1824, because of the internal wars in Argentina, he decided to emigrate to France, where he died on August 17th, 1850.

Because of his brave, decisive, sensitive, kind, humble, intelligent and patriot spirit, he is warmly remembered as a liberator in three different South American countries. Also, his twelve “principles”, which were pieces of advice to his daughter, are really useful for everyone, since they explain in a few words the best style of life. Lots of people have made films, books (like “El santo de la espada”), hymns, plays, sculptures and museums in his memory. San Martin has been on our coins, money and within our hearts for years. I think he has made a difficult and very important work destroying a strong and unfair policy to construct three different and democratic countries.

Page created on 8/12/2009 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 8/12/2009 12:00:00 AM

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