José Ramón Rodil, 1st Marquess of Rodil
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The Marquess of Rodil
|Died||February 20, 1853 (aged 64)|
Don José Ramón Rodil y Campillo, 1st Marquess of Rodil and 3rd Viscount of Trobo (February 5, 1789 in Santa María de Trobo, Lugo Province – February 20, 1853 in Madrid) was a Spanish general and statesman, born in Santa María del Trovo, Galicia region. Originally a law student at the University of Santiago de Compostela, he enlisted in the Spanish army and went to Peru in 1817 as one of the commissioned officers in the fight against the pro-independence nationalist forces. He also served as Prime Minister of Spain from 17 June 1842 to 9 May 1843.
The last stand of the Spaniards in Peru
In 1824 after Ayacucho disaster, Rodil assumed command of the last Spanish stronghold on Peruvian territory, Callao port city. Besieged by nationalist forces backed by Simón Bolívar, Rodil refused to surrender, even as scurvy and starvation wreaked havoc among the hundreds of loyalists living in the fort. Even his top lieutenants began turning against him, only for Rodil to execute them by firing squad. He even executed his chaplain, Pedro Marieluz, for not revealing to him the details of the confessions made by those sentenced to death.
The Patriots, despairing at the resistance of the Spaniards, threatened reprisals against the defenders of Callao but were countermanded by Bolívar: "Heroism does not merit punishment. How we would applaud Rodil if he were a patriot!". Nevertheless, in the long run, resistance proved futile; two of Rodil's trusted comrades who commanded other forts nearby, and their forces, jumped to the nationalist side, thus revealing Rodil's potential defensive plans. On January 22, 1826, Rodil surrendered to Venezuelan general Bartolome Salom and was allowed to go back to Spain.
Return to Spain and later life
Back in Spain, Rodil was more respected than his other Army colleagues, such as José de la Serna and José de Canterac, who had been defeated in the earlier Battle of Ayacucho. After Ferdinand VII's death, he supported Isabella II in the civil war against the Carlists. He later was viceroy of Navarra, which wasn't yet fully incorporated in the Spanish kingdom, and was President of the Government of Spain in 1842. He had a personal rivalry with Baldomero Espartero, Count of Luchana, who had attempted to divest him of his military honors. Rodil then retired from Spanish politics, and died at age 64.
- Media related to José Ramón Rodil y Campillo at Wikimedia Commons