Battle of Tarqui

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Battle of Tarqui
Part of the Gran Colombia–Peru War
Tarqui grenadiers.jpg
Uniform of the grenadiers dating from the time of the Battle of Tarqui, today worn by the presidential guard of honor at the presidential palace of Quito.
Date February 27, 1829
Location Portete de Tarqui, near Cuenca, Ecuador.
Result Setbacks on both sides
 Gran Colombia  Peru
Commanders and leaders
Antonio José de Sucre José de la Mar
5,000 5,000
Casualties and losses
360 dead and wounded; 600 desertions 400 dead, 600 wounded, 300 prisoners

The Battle of Tarqui, also known as the Battle of Portete de Tarqui, took place on February 27, 1829 at Portete de Tarqui, near Cuenca, Ecuador. It was fought between troops from Gran Colombia, commanded by Antonio José de Sucre, and Peruvian troops under José de La Mar. It was a victory for Gran Colombia. After winning independence from Spain, the countries that are now Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela formed a single nation known as Gran Colombia. Simón Bolívar, the liberator of most of the Andean countries in South America had hoped to join what is now Peru and Bolivia to Gran Colombia, but Peru (including what is now parts of Bolivia) chose to remain a separate nation. (Bolivia had earlier declared independence in 1826.)


In 1828, José de Lamar the President of Peru, who had been born in Cuenca, was encouraged by influential citizens of Guayaquil to believe that the people of "el Austro" or the southern region of what is now Ecuador—including Cuenca, Guayaquil and Loja—would prefer to be part of Peru rather than Gran Colombia. José de Lamar, who also had the title of marshal or mariscal, occupied the city of Loja with Peruvian troops in November 1828.


The President of Gran Colombia, Simón Bolívar appointed Mariscal Sucre, then President of Bolivia, to lead the Gran Colombian troops to defend the "Department of Ecuador." Helping Sucre was the Governor of the Department of Ecuador, Juan José Flores. Together Sucre and Flores recruited an estimated 5,000 troops by January 1829 and brought them into the area near Cuenca by the middle of February. Lamar also had an estimated Peruvian 5,000 troops in the vicinity of Cuenca. The two armies were set to confront in Portete de Tarqui with the victory of the Grancolombian troops, including a rifle battalion and a cavalry squadron under COL José María Camacaro, serving as part of the cavalry brigade under MGEN Daniel Florence O'Leary. The Colonel's death in the battle by the 1st Squadron, Junin Hussars Regiment commanding officer, then LTCOL Domingo Nieto (later a Marshal), shocked the Colombian forces so much that a cavalry charge was ordered, pushing the Peruvian forces away.

In the aftermath, the Giron Agreement was signed by the general officers of both forces, and as a result of the latter Piura Armistice of 10 July 1829, all the Peruvian forces departed from southern Ecuador.

Shortly after the battle of Peruvians he returned to Peru, Lamar’s government was overthrown and he was forced to go into exile in Costa Rica where he died in November 1830. Sucre was killed in 1830 while riding on his way back to Quito. Juan José Flores became the first President of Ecuador.

In honor of the Ecuadorian fallen of the battle the Presidential Horse Guards Squadron of the Ecuadorian Army has the nickname "Tarqui Grenadiers" in honor of the battle, as a horse grenadier unit served with the Colombian army during the battle and was manned partly by Ecuadorian personnel. They wear a blue dress uniform and carry lances in memory of their fallen predecessors.


  • Dupuy, R. E. and T. N. Dupuy. The Encyclopedia of Military History. (Philadelphia: Harper and Roe, 1986) p. 818