||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (January 2013)|
|11.º Governor of Buenos Aires Province|
1 December 1828 – 26 June 1829
|Preceded by||Manuel Dorrego|
|Succeeded by||Juan José Viamonte|
October 17, 1797|
Buenos Aires, Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
|Died||October 9, 1841
San Salvador de Jujuy
|Allegiance||United Provinces of the Río de la Plata|
|Unit||Army of the Andes|
|Battles/wars||Argentine War of Independence
French blockade of the Río de la Plata
Juan Galo Lavalle (October 17, 1797 – October 9, 1841) was an Argentine military and political figure.
Lavalle reached the grade of lieutenant in 1813, and moved to the army that, under the orders of Carlos María de Alvear, besieged Montevideo. He also fought José Gervasio Artigas in 1815, and the Battle of Guayabos under the command of Manuel Dorrego. A year later he moved to Mendoza to join the Army of the Andes of "liberator" José de San Martín, to fight in Chacabuco and Maipú, Chile. He continued along with San Martín on his way to Peru and Ecuador and took part in the battles of Pichincha and the Riobamba, after which he became known as the Hero of Riobamba.
Because of disagreements with Simón Bolívar, Lavalle returned to Buenos Aires by the end of 1823. He would later govern Mendoza Province for a short time. He then fought in the war against Brazil in command of 1,200 cavalry, with great episodes of valour in the battles of Bacacay and Ituzaingó in February 1827, beating the forces of General Abreu and being himself proclaimed General on the field of battle itself.
By the time he returned to Buenos Aires, the President of the United Provinces, Unitarian Bernardino Rivadavia, had resigned, and Manuel Dorrego was elected the federal governor of Buenos Aires Province. Lavalle, a Unitarian himself, led a coup to take the government and executed governor Dorrego without a trial. His government then started a reign of terror, aiming to destroy the Federal Party, but the resistance in the countryside didn't recede. In 1829, the demographic growth was negative as there were more deaths than births. During that time, José de San Martín had returned from Europe. While he was in Montevideo, Lavalle offered him the government of Argentina as he probably was the only man capable of putting an end to the chaotic situation, because of his authority over leaders on both sides. But when he learned about the spiraling factionalist violence, San Martín realised that he would have to choose sides as the only actual way to govern, so he refused and returned instead to self-exile in Europe.
The other provinces did not recognize Lavalle as the legitimate governor, and supported the rosista resistance instead. Lavalle would be defeated a short time later at the Battle of Márquez Bridge by the forces of Juan Manuel de Rosas and Santa Fe governor Estanislao López. López returned to his province, menaced by Unitarian José María Paz, who had taken power in Córdoba. Meanwhile, Rosas kept Lavalle under siege and forced him to resign with the Cañuelas pact. Juan José Viamonte was designated as interim governor, and the legislature that was removed during Lavalle's coup d'état was restored. This legislature would elect Rosas as the governor. Lavalle retired to the Banda Oriental.
During the French blockade to the Río de la Plata, Fructuoso Rivera was reluctant to take military actions against Rosas, aware of his strength. Unitarians, who thought that the whole Argentine Confederation would rise against Rosas at the first chance, urged Lavalle to lead the attack, who requested not to share command with Rivera. As a result, they led both their own armies. His imminent attack was backed up by conspiracies in Buenos Aires, which were discovered and aborted by the Mazorca. Manuel Vicente Maza and his son were among the perpetrators, and were executed as a result. Pedro Castelli also organized an ill-fated demonstration against Rosas, and was executed as well. Rosas did not wait to be attacked and ordered Pascual Echagüe to cross the Paraná river and take the fight to Uruguay. The Uruguayan armies split: Rivera returned to defend Montevideo, and Lavalle moved to Entre Ríos Province. He expected that the local populations would join him against Rosas and increase his forces, but he found severe resistance, so he moved instead to Corrientes Province. Governor Pedro Ferré defeated López, and Rivera defeated Pascual Echagüe, clearing for Lavalle the way to Buenos Aires. However, by that point France had given up its trust on the effectiveness of the blockade, as what was thought it would be an easy and short conflict was turning into a long war, without clear security of a final victory. France began peace negotiations with the Confederation and cut its financial support to Lavalle. He didn't find help at local towns either, and there was widespread desertion among his ranks. Buenos Aires was ready to resist his military attack, but the lack of support forced him to give up and retire from the battlefield, without starting any battle.
Persecuted, his troops suffered constant attacks and Lavalle was forced to move further north, being defeated by Manuel Oribe in La Rioja and Tucumán. Escaping with a small group of 200 men, he was accidentally shot by a Montonera detachment which spread-shot a reputed Unitarian's house, not realizing that Juan Lavalle, the very chief of the Unitarians, was staying there. This occurred in 1841 in San Salvador de Jujuy.
Afraid that his body would be desecrated by the Federales, his followers fled to Bolivia carrying Lavalle's decomposing remains with them. Hurrying over the Humahuaca pass, they finally decided to strip the skeleton by boiling it and, after burying the flesh in an unmarked grave, carry the bones, which are today buried at the La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.
A statue of the general standing on top of a long, slender column, commemorates the figure of Lavalle at Plaza Lavalle in Buenos Aires.
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Juan de Dios Correas
|Governor of Buenos Aires Province
1828 – 1829
Juan José Viamonte