Pedro Antonio Olañeta

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Pedro Antonio Olañeta (Elgueta, Gipuzkoa, Spain, 1770 - Tumusla (Potosí Department), Bolivia, April 2, 1825) was born of a humble family in Biscay province, Spain and emigrated with his parents to South America in 1797. He settled in the area of Potosí and Salta, becoming a prosperous trader.

When the May Revolution occurred in 1810 he sided with the royalists, commanded by General José Manuel de Goyeneche, and fought as an officer in campaigns against the rebels. He was promoted to colonel under the command of Joaquín Pezuela, then to brigadier general under Viceroy José de la Serna e Hinojosa in 1821. After the liberal revolution in Spain under Fernando VII, Olañeta rejected the authority of La Serna and proclaimed himself "the only defender of throne and altar".

After the decisive defeat of the main royalist armies in the Battle of Ayacucho, Olañeta continued a hopeless resistance against Simón Bolívar forces in the Campaign of Sucre in Upper Peru (today's Bolivia). On April 2, 1825, after a desperate fight, Olañeta died in the Battle of Tumusla (against his own ex-troops led by Colonel Medinaceli who had defected to the patriots). This battle of the war of independence was the last engagement in an open field by regular armies in South America. Unaware of his death, Fernando VII appointed him Viceroy of the Rio de la Plata. After the battle Antonio José de Sucre called a congress of Upper Peru and saw the creation of a new nation, Bolivia.

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