Patria Nueva

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Patria Nueva

1817–1823
Flag Coat of arms
Capital Santiago, Chile
Languages Spanish
Government Dictatorship
History
 -  Battle of Chacabuco February 12, 1817
 -  Bernardo O'Higgins resignation January 28, 1823

Patria Nueva (New Nation) was a period in the history of Chile that began with the victory of Ejército de los Andes in the Battle of Chacabuco on 12 February 1817, and ended with the resignation of Bernardo O'Higgins in 1823.

Government of Bernardo O'Higgins[edit]

First measures as Supreme Director[edit]

Main article: Bernardo O'Higgins

Not long after becoming the Supreme Director of Chile, O'Higgins sent the Aguila — a ship captured in the port of Valparaiso — to rescue Chilean patriots stranded on the Juan Fernández Islands. O'Higgins formed an army to face the Spanish Empire forces hidden in the port of Talcahuano and the montoneras (traitor patriots, natives and bandits), who were on the shore of the Bio-Bio River.

He created the Vindication Tribunal, a legal apparatus that granted patriots the right to reclaim goods taken by the Spanish during the Reconquest. He also ordered the exile of priests advocating for continued fealty to the Spanish throne.

The Surprise of Cancha Rayada[edit]

The independent people waited in Talca for the royalists, but the royalists took another path. The people of San Martin and O'Higgins were caught by surprise. Winning the battle was known as a surprise because the independence troops did not react immediately.

In Santiago, fear had spread with the defeat of the Ejército de los Andes and the Chilean army. Many people in Santiago were already going into self-imposed exile again in Mendoza and rumor of the death of O'Higgins and San Martin was spreading rapidly.

In these circumstances, in the cabild of the March 23, Manuel Rodríguez yelled "We still have our homeland, citizens!" and proclaimed himself the supreme director. Quickly, he arranged a squadron called Húsares de la Muerte. It attracted many carreristas, swearing to die before seeing the homeland in the hands of Spain again. Knowing this, O'Higgins went back to Santiago, without medical approval, with San Martin. Both were welcomed with cannon shots on the sunrise of March 24.

Consolidation and Progress of the Independence Movement[edit]

Despite having signed the Declaration of Independence, Chile and Argentina experienced unstable independence attributable to the presence of the Royalists in Peru. San Martín continued his planned invasion of Peru with the added support of O'Higgins. Organized in 1820 by the government of Chile, the Freedom Expedition of Peru, led by Commanding General José of San Martín and Lord Thomas Cochrane, was one of the central forces leading the Peruvian War of Independence. In 1822, San Martin retired from the campaign, resigning as Protector of Peru. Taking his place was Simon Bolivar who, backed by the Colombian government, continued to fight for Peru's independence.

Cochrane would settle the decisive blow to the Royalists in Chile when, in 1820, he seized the Valdivian Fort System, the most fortified place in South America at the time. Cochrane succeeded in the Capture of Valdivia using a surprise land assault. He then sent a small force in charge of Jorge Beauchef to pursue the Royalist army fleeing from Valdivia to Chiloe and, in the process, conquered the cities located further south of Valdivia - including Me Río Bueno and Osorno.

After the capture of Valdivia, Lord Cochrane left Colonel Jorge Beauchef as commander and governor of Valdivia. On March 6, 1820, Colonel Beauchef overcame the royalists during the battle of El Toro. From Valdivia, Cochrane went to Chiloe, but failed in a ground attack on Ancud and was forced to retreat. After the battle of El Toro, he began to consolidate his army's presence in the southern Chilean region, excluding Chiloé.

See also[edit]