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28 July 2009

On this day in history: Peruvian independence declared, 1821

In 1532, the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro took advantage of a civil war that raged between two Inca princes by engineering a coup d'état and becoming the effective ruler of the Inca empire. Ten years later, the Spanish created the Viceroyalty of Peru which survived into the nineteenth century in spite of native revolts. Nevertheless, in the early 1800s the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian Peninsular and deposition of King Ferdinand VII weakened Spanish colonial power and strengthening independence movements across South America.

Starting in 1812, Spanish landowners rose up twice against the royalist regime, firstly in the Huánuco region and then in the Cuzco region a couple of years later. The colonial oligarchy suppressed both revolts and Peru became the last bastion of Spanish rule on the Continent. Nevertheless, they could not hold back the tide, an army commanded by Simón Bolívar attacked from the north and the Argentinian forces of General José de San Martín campaigned in the south of Peru, winning a series of victories against the royalist army.

On 28th July 1821, San Martin declared Peru independence in front of an ecstatic crowd in Lima. The next year an elected body, the Primer Congreso Constituyente del Perú de 1822 (Constituent Congress of Peru of 1822), assumed control of the independent regions with San Martin as Protector. With the defeat of the remaining royalist forces two years later at the Battle of Ayacucho, independence was secured.

A video about Peruvian independence with English subtitles

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