Battle of Carabobo

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Battle of Carabobo
Part of the Venezuelan War of Independence
BatallaCarabobo01.JPG
Detail of La Batalla de Carabobo by Martín Tovar y Tovar. Oil on canvas.
Date 24 June 1821
Location Carabobo, Venezuela
Result Decisive Patriot victory
Belligerents

Flag of the Gran Colombia (1819-1820).svg Patriots
Foreign volunteers

Spain Royalists
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Gran Colombia (1819-1820).svg Simón Bolívar Spain Miguel de la Torre
Strength

6,500-8,000 Total

  • 4,000 infantry
  • 2,500 cavalry
4,000-5,000 Total
No cavalry fought[2]
Casualties and losses
200 dead[3] 2,908 captured, wounded or dead.

The Battle of Carabobo, 24 June 1821, was fought between independence fighters, led by Venezuelan General Simón Bolívar, and the Royalist forces, led by Spanish Field Marshal Miguel de la Torre. Bolívar's decisive victory at Carabobo led to the independence of Venezuela.

Order of battle[edit]

Army of Gran Colombia[edit]

  • Commander in Chief: Gen. Simon Bolivar
  • 1st Army Division (Commander: Gen. Jose Antonio Paez)
    • 1st Infantry Brigade
    • 1st Cavalry
      • Honor Cavalry Regiment
      • Honored Lancers, The Death
      • Valiant Horse Rifles, The Vengeance
      • Mounted Rifle Regiment
      • Hussar Regiment
  • 2nd Army Division (Commander: Gen. Manuel Cedeno)
    • 2nd Infantry Brigade
      • Vargas Battalion
      • Boyaca
      • Guaicaiapuro Foot
      • Tiralleurs Battalion
    • Sacred Cavalry Squadron
  • 3rd Army Division (Commander: Gen. Ambrosio Plaza)

Royalist Army[edit]

Royal Army

Commander in Chief of the Royal Armies: Field Marshal Juan Miguel de la Torre

  • Division Commanders: Gen. Morales (1st), Cols. Jose María Herrera (4th Vanguard) and Tomás Garcia (5th).
  • Infantry Battalions attached under the three divisions:
Garcia Division: 1st Infantry Brigade
4th Division: Vanguard Brigade
Morales Division: 3rd Infantry Brigade
    • 2nd Valencay Infantry
    • Barbastro Foot
    • Burgos Foot
    • Hostalrich Foot
    • Infante Don Francisco
    • Principe
  • Cavalry Brigade
    • General's Bodyguards
    • Loyal Dragoons
    • HM King Ferdinand VII's Own Hussars
    • King's Own Lancers
  • 2 artillery pieces, each attached to the Garcia and the 4th Divisions

Before the Battle[edit]

There were several events that led to the Battle of Carabobo. Francisco Miranda, famed patriot that tried to free many Latin American countries alongside Simon Bolivar, had taken control of Caracas from 1810 to 1812. The Spanish took back control, captured and sentenced Miranda to death. Bolivar fled from Venezuela for several years.[4] In 1820, an armistice was made between the Spanish, under General Pablo Morillo, and the Patriots, under Bolivar. During the years after he fled from Venezuela, Bolivar spent a lot of time regrouping his forces. He stationed his men on Lake Maracaibo, an area that was occupied by the loyalists. Bolivar had numerical superiority over the loyalists but it would still be a challenge.[5]

The Battle[edit]

The Royalists occupied the road leading from Valencia to Puerto Cabello. As Bolívar's force of 6,500 (which included over 600 volunteers from the British Isles) approached the Royalist position, Bolívar divided his force and sent half on a flanking maneuver through rough terrain and dense foliage. Bolivar led the attack through the center while Gen. José Antonio Páez went around to the right flank. But before they would do it, the 2 Spanish field guns fired on the lines.[6]

Gen. Miguel de la Torre, commander of the Spanish, also split his force and sent half to deal with this flank attack. Hitting the Patriots, led by the Apure Braves Battalion, with musket fire, the Royalists held back the attack for a while. The Venezuelan infantry failed and retreated, but the men of the "British Legions", among them many members of the former King's German Legion, fought hard and took the hills. They played very pivotal roles in several of the independence battles and were very crucial in this battle. The legion troops were led by Colonel Thomas Ilderton Ferrier. They defended strategically important hills while being greatly outnumbered and low on supplies. They suffered 119 deaths. 11 of those were officers. Col. Ferrier was among the dead. Bolivar praised the Legion troops and called them the "Saviors of my Fatherland" and also said that they had distinguished themselves among other armies.[7]

Simon Bolivar

As the Legion gained the top, the Apure Braves and 2 companies of the Tiralleurs Battalion (2nd Division) reinforced them, and pushed the enemy off, just as Pedro Camejo, lance in hand, was trying to rally the formations, only to be KIA due to two shots to the chest from enemy gunfire, in front of General Paez, who told him that he was a coward, to which, with his dying breath, responded: No I am not! My general, I have come to tell you goodbye, because now I am dead!

The cavalry militia of royalist "Llanero" fled from battlefield as the Patriot infantry fought hard, and the patriot cavalry led by Colonel Munoz eventually broke through the Royalist lines on the center, and marched towards the rear of de La Torre's force. The Spanish infantry formed squares and fought to the end under the attack of the Patriot cavalry, but one battalion retreated in the face of the enemy. The rout was so bad that only some 400 of one infantry regiment managed to reach safety at Puerto Cabello. With the main Royalist force in Venezuela crushed, independence was ensured. Subsequent battles included a key naval victory for the independence forces on 24 July 1823 at the Battle of Lake Maracaibo [8] and in November 1823 José Antonio Páez occupied Puerto Cabello, the last Royalist stronghold in Venezuela.

The victory was a hard won one for the independence forces. Both Ambrosio Plaza and Manuel Cedeno, commanders of the 2nd and 3rd Divisions, were killed in the battle by the enemy.

Commemoration[edit]

24 June is celebrated as Battle of Carabobo Day. This day is also called "Army Day" in Venezuela.

Battle of Carabobo Day

Every year during the month of June; the 24th specifically, honors the penultimate battle of the Venezuelan War of Independence and the largest battle of that war that finally secured national independence after years of war against Spain. It is a national celebration that is televised and streamed on the Internet. It lasts all day with a military parade of the Venezuelan Army, showing to public all armaments, tanks, battalions, weapons, etc. of the ground forces, as the main highlight, during the midday hours.[9]

This military parade doesn’t have any sponsorship except by the government and the Army.

It’s the largest military parade in the country after the celebration of the birth of General Simon Bolivar on 24 July 1783 (Navy Day) and the annual Independence Day parades of 5 July yearly.

Also held is a joint historical reenactment organized by the Carabobo State Government, the Ministry of Defense, the National Armed Forces, and the Ministry of Education on the very site of the battle in the morning, joined in by elementary and middle school students. The 2015 event was held for the first time on the Sunday nearest the anniversary, June 21.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ British Legions and mixed units [1] [2]
  2. ^ from 1,551 of theoric cavalry , only two squadrons of hussars fight as infantry. The rest of royalist cavalry, 1,372 Venezuelan Llaneros, flee from the battle
  3. ^ Implausible, even if given by Bolivar.
  4. ^ Kris E. Lane; Matthew Restall (2011). Wadsworth, ed. The riddle of Latin America (Student ed.). Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 173–174. ISBN 0618153063. 
  5. ^ "Battle of Carabobo". Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  6. ^ "Battle of Carabobo". Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  7. ^ Piero Gleijeses. "The Limits of Sympathy: The United States and the Independence of Spanish America". Cambridge University Press. 
  8. ^ Albert H. Gerberich. "A Forgotten Episode of History: The Battle of Lake Maracaibo". The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 52 (1): 82–83. 
  9. ^ "Venezuela Battle of Carabobo Day". 

External links[edit]

Animated Demo[edit]

General[edit]

Coordinates: 10°00′16″N 68°09′57″W / 10.0045°N 68.1657°W / 10.0045; -68.1657