Antonio José de Sucre

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Antonio José de Sucre
Martin Tovar y Tovar 12.JPG
2nd President of Bolivia
In office
29 December 1825 – 18 April 1828
Preceded by Simón Bolívar
Succeeded by José María Pérez de Urdininea
6th President of Perú
In office
23 June 1823 – 17 July 1823
Preceded by José de la Riva Agüero
Succeeded by José Bernardo de Tagle
Personal details
Born (1795-02-03)February 3, 1795
Cumaná, Viceroyalty of New Granada (in present-day Venezuela)
Died June 4, 1830(1830-06-04) (aged 35)
Pasto, Republic of New Granada (in present-day Colombia)
Resting place Cathedral of Quito
Spouse(s) Maríana de Carcelén y Larrea, Marquise of Solanda
Children Teresa Sucre y Carcelén
Honorary title Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho
Signature

Antonio José de Sucre y Alcalá (Spanish: [anˈtonjo xoˈse ðe ˈsukɾe j alkaˈla]; 1795–1830), known as the "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho" (English: "Grand Marshal of Ayacucho"), was a Venezuelan independence leader. Sucre was one of Simón Bolívar's closest friends, generals and statesmen.

Biography[edit]

Family[edit]

The aristocratic Sucre family trace its roots back to origins in Flanders. It arrived in Venezuela through Charles de Sucre y Pardo, a Flemish nobleman, son of Charles Adrian de Sucre, Marquess of Peru and Buenaventura Carolina Isabel Garrido y Pardo, a Spanish noblewoman. Charles de Sucre y Pardo served as a soldier in Catalonia in 1698 and was later named Governor of Cartagena de Indias and Captain General of Cuba. On December 22, 1779, Charles de Sucre y Pardo arrived in Cumaná, Venezuela, having been named Governor of New Andalucia, which includes present-day Sucre state.

Military career[edit]

In 1814, Antonio José de Sucre joined the battles for South American independence from Spain. The Battle of Pichincha took place on May 24, 1822, on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano, 3,500 meters above sea level, right next to the city of Quito in what is now Ecuador. The encounter, fought in the context of the Spanish American wars of independence, pitted a Patriot army under Sucre against a Royalist army commanded by Field Marshal Melchor Aymerich. The defeat of the Royalist forces brought about the liberation of Quito and secured the independence of the provinces belonging to the Real Audiencia de Quito, or Presidencia de Quito, the Spanish colonial administrative jurisdiction from which the Republic of Ecuador would eventually emerge.

As of late 1824, Royalists still had control of most of the south of Peru as well as of Real Felipe Fort in the port of Callao. On December 9, 1824, the Battle of Ayacucho (Battle of La Quinua) took place at Pampa de La Quinua, a few kilometers away from Ayacucho, near the town of Quinua between Royalist and Independentist forces. The general Sucre, as Simón Bolívar's lieutenant, led the Independentist forces to victory over the Viceroy José de la Serna who was wounded. After the battle second commander-in-chief José de Canterac signed the final capitulation of the Royalist army.

Surrender at Ayacucho (Daniel Hernández).

After the victory at Ayacucho, following precise orders from Bolívar, Sucre nominated as Ayacucho's Grand Marshall entered Upper Peru (today's Bolivia) territory on February 25, 1825. Besides having orders of installing an immediately independent administration, his role was limited to giving an appearance of legality to the process that Upper Peruvians themselves had started already. Royalist general Pedro Antonio Olañeta stayed in Potosí, where he received by January the "Union" Battalion coming from Puno under the command of colonel José María Valdez. Olañeta then summoned a War Council, which agreed to continue the resistance in the name of Ferdinand VII. Next, Olañeta distributed his troops between Cotagaita fortress with the "Chichas" Battalion. in charge of colonel Medinacelli, while Valdez was sent to Chuquisaca with the "Union" and Olañeta himself marched toward Vitichi, with 60,000 pieces of gold from the Coin House in Potosí. The majority of royalist troops of Upper Peru refused to continue fighting against the powerful army of Sucre. Colonel Medinacelli with 300 soldiers also revolted against Olañeta, and on April 2 of 1825 they faced each other in the Battle of Tumusla, which ended with the death of Olañeta. A few days later, on April 7, general José María Valdez surrendered in Chequelte to general Urdininea, putting an end to the war in Upper Peru.

Through a decree it was determined that the new state in Upper Peru would carry the name of República Bolívar, in honor of the liberator, who was designated as "Father of the Republic and Supreme Chief of State". Bolívar thanked them for these honors, but declined the presidency of the Republic, a duty he gave instead to Sucre as Ayacucho's Grand Marshall. After some time, the subject of the name of the young nation arose again, and a Potosian deputy named Manuel Martín Cruz offered a solution, suggesting that in the same manner in which from Rome comes from Romulus, from Bolívar ought to come Bolivia:

"Si de Rómulo, Roma; de Bolívar, Bolivia".

After being summoned once again the Deliberant Assembly in Chuquisaca by Sucre, on July 8 of 1825, and then concluded, it was determined the complete independence of Upper Peru under the republican form. Finally, the Assembly president José Mariano Serrano, together with a commission, wrote down the "Independence Act of the Upper Peruvian Departments" which carries the date of August 6, 1825, in honor of the Battle of Junín won by Bolivar.

In the Battle of Tarqui, fought on February 27, 1829, heavily outnumbered two to one, the Marechal Sucre defeated a Peruvian invasion force led by third President and General of Peru José de La Mar, whose intentions had been to annex Guayaquil and the rest of Ecuador to Peru.

Post-independence[edit]

When a strong movement arose against Bolívar, his followers, and the Bolivian constitution in 1828, Sucre resigned.

Assassination of Sucre at Berruecos[edit]

Sucre was killed on June 4, 1830.[1] General Juan José Flores wanted to separate the southern departments (Quito, Guayaquil, and Azuay), called the District of Ecuador, from the Gran Colombia so as to form an independent country and become its first President. General Flores foresaw that if Antonio José de Sucre arrived in Quito from Bogota, he could thwart his plans, since Sucre was very popular due to his reputation as hero and leader in the Battles of Pichincha, Tarqui and Ayacucho. General Juan José Flores put himself in contact with the anti-Bolívar and anti-Sucre leader Brigadier-General and the Commanding General of Cauca, José María Obando, who was not present at Sucre's death but who delegated this criminal act to the Venezuelan Colonel Apolinar Morillo. Commander Juan Gregorio Sarria (who later confessed he had been paid by Obando), José Erazo (a highway bandit and guerrilla fighter), and his[clarification needed] three peons were accomplices. The plan was to ambush José Antonio de Sucre on the morning of June 4, 1830, in the cold and bleak forested district of Berruecos, along a narrow path that was perennially covered with fog. The five assassins were hiding behind trees along the part of the trail known as La Jacoba waiting for Sucre's party, which would be passing the area single file. Sucre's retinue comprised seven persons: two muleteers with the baggage, two sergeants, one being the Marshal's orderly, a representative to the Congress from Cuenca, and his[clarification needed] servant, and finally Sucre himself. When Sucre approached La Jacoba, he was struck by three bullets, two inflicting superficial wounds to his head and one piercing his heart. He fell from his mule, which had been shot in the neck, and died almost instantly. His body remained there for twenty-four hours, as his companions, fearful of a similar fate, had fled in panic. Later, Juan Gregorio Sarria and Colonel Apolinar Morillo confessed that it was Obando who had convinced them to assassinate Sucre. Commander Juan Gregorio Sarria also confessed that Obando had paid him to kill Sucre, since there were anti-Bolivar politicians and officers in Bogota that wanted to see both Bolívar and Sucre eliminated. The ringleader of the anti-Bolívar faction in Bogota was Santander, who was Obando's friend and who had failed in his attempt to assassinate Bolivar. The three peons who were part of the Sucre assassination party were poisoned by Apolinar Morillo to prevent them from testifying about Sucre's murder. In the end, Colonel Apolinar Morillo was convicted and shot in the main square of Bogota for the murder of Sucre on November 30, 1842, and José Erazo died in prison that same year. José Maria Obando should have met the same fate[clarification needed] but was granted immunity due to the fact that he was too powerful in the Department of Cauca. Francisco de Paula Santander, although indirectly involved with Sucre's death, was directly involved with Bolívar's attempted assassination and was exiled.

Death of Antonio José de Sucre by Arturo Michelena.

Burial and aftermath[edit]

Ecuadorian coin, two tenths of a sucre
Monument to Antonio José de Sucre in the constitutional capital of Bolivia, Sucre

The following day Sucre's orderly, a sergeant named Lorenzo Caicedo, with some help from others, buried the body and marked the makeshift grave with a cross formed of branches. When the widow received news of the assassination, she promptly brought Sucre's remains from Berruecos to Quito, where they were interred in secret in the oratory of the chapel of "El Dean" on one of her haciendas. Subsequently, she had the remains transferred, also in secret, to the Carmen Bajo Convent in Quito, where they were placed facing the main altar of the church. Seventy years later, in April 1900, Sucre's remains were discovered and, their authenticity scrupulously verified, transferred to the Quito Cathedral on June 4,1900, in a sumptuous parade led by the Executive and his Ministers, the high dignitaries of the Church, and the diplomatic corps. At the time, the government ordered the building of a crypt, but it was not inaugurated until thirty-two years later, on August 4, 1932. This mausoleum consisted of a nine-ton monolith of granite from the quarries of the Pichincha volcano. Its cover, on which a cross is carved in high relief, was so heavy that thirty persons were required to move it into place.

According to the December 19, 1830 Gaceta de Colombia, Issue No. 495, a power-hungry, ambitious General Obando paid an assassin to kill Sucre by falsely informing the assassin that Sucre was a traitor and had to be stopped because Sucre's intentions were to go to Quito and separate the Department of Cauca and the three southern departments of Colombia and unite them with Peru. In reality, Sucre, a protégé of Bolívar, was going to Quito to stop the separation of the District of Ecuador from the Gran Colombia and to retire as soon as possible in Quito to live a quiet life with his wife. Some have argued that Sucre was ordered assassinated by General Obando so as to leave no clear successor to Bolívar in the Gran Colombia. Before his death, Bolívar believed Sucre to be the only man who could have reunited the Gran Colombia; however, Bolívar's generals and the majority of the politicians running the separate departments of the Gran Colombia had other selfish and ambitious plans. Sucre represented, according to historian Tomás Polanco Alcántara, "the indispensable complement to Simón Bolívar". Upon hearing the news of Sucre's death, Bolívar said, "Se ha derramado, Dios excelso, la sangre del inocente Abel..." ("The blood of the innocent Abel has been spilled, God almighty..."). Bolívar later wrote (Gaceta de Colombia, July 4, 1830):

Sucre is buried in the Cathedral of Quito, Ecuador, as he had said, "I want my bones to be forever in Quito", where his wife, Mariana de Carcelén y Larrea, Marquise of Solanda, was from.

Legacy[edit]

Some of his descendants in Venezuela, Ecuador, and the U.S. have followed in his military and political footsteps.[citation needed]

Further reading[edit]

  • Higgins, James (editor). The Emancipation of Peru: British Eyewitness Accounts, 2014. Online at https://sites.google.com/site/jhemanperu
  • Sherwell, Guillermo A. (1924). Antonio José de Sucre (Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho): Hero and Martyr of American Independence. Washington, D.C.: Byron S. Adams. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monroy, Ramón Rocha (June 5, 2009). "Ultimas cartas de Sucre" (in Spanish). Bolpress. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Simón Bolívar
President of Bolivia
December 29, 1825 – April 18, 1828
Succeeded by
José María Pérez de Urdininea
Preceded by
José de la Riva Agüero
President of Peru
June 23, 1823 – July 17, 1823
Succeeded by
José Bernardo de Tagle