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Juan Jose Castelli

Juan Jose Castelli was an Argentine politician who participated in the 1810 May Revolution, leading to Argentine independence.

Castelli was born in Buenos Aires and attended the Colegio Real de San Carlos and the Colegio Monserrat in the city of Cordoba. He later became a lawyer in the University of Charcas. He was a cousin of Manuel Belgrano who got him a position in the public administration in the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. Along with his cousin, Nicolas Rodriguez Pena and Hipolito Vieytes, Castelli was one of the first revolutionaries that would take control of the government. He was commanded to address viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros and ask him to resign. During the sessions in the Cabildo, he strongly defended the patriotic cause with a long and brilliant speech on 22 May 1810. Since then, people have acknowledged him as the "Speaker of the Revolution".

Castelli was named Comitee member of the Primera Junta and was sent to Cordoba to end Santiago de Liniers's counter-revolution. He succeeded and ordered the execution of Liniers and his supporters. Later, he commanded the establishment of a revolutionary government in Alto Peru (today's Bolivia) with the aim of setting the indigenous peoples and African slaves free. In 1811, Castelli signed a truce with the Spanish in Alto Peru but they betrayed him and caught the Northern Army unprepared. As a result, the Argentines suffered a big loss in the Battle of Huaqui on June 20, 1811. When Castelli returned to Buenos Aires, the First Triumvirate imprisoned him for the undesired outcome of the battle. Castelli died shortly after, due to tongue cancer.

Early life and studies

Castelli was born in Buenos Aires. He was the first of eight children of Josefa Villarino and a Venetian doctor, Angel Castelli Salomon; the former was related maternally to Manuel Belgrano. He was trained by the Jesuits, shortly before their expulsion, and attended the Colegio Real de San Carlos and his cousin, Manuel Belgrano, secured him a position in the public administration in the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata.

For a disposition of an estate, one of the children of the Castelli marriage was to have been ordained into the priesthood, and Juan Jose was assigned that taskon, and was sent to study at the Colegio Monserrat, part of the University of Cordoba. There, he was influenced by Voltaire and Diderot, in particular, and by Rousseau's Social Contract. He was a fellow student of other men of later influence in the public life of South America, such as Saturnino Rodriguez Pena, Juan Jose Paso, Manuel Alberti, Pedro and Mariano Medrano, and Juan Martinez de Rozas, among others. He was immersed in philosophy and theology, but in 1785, when his father died, he left the priestly career, for which he did not felt a strong vocation.

Determined to study jurisprudence, he rejected his mother's intention of sending him to study in Spain, alongside his cousin Manuel Belgrano, at the University of Salamanca and Alcala de Henares, deciding instead to enroll in the University of Saint Francis Xavier. There, he became acquainted with the ideals of the French Revolution.

Returning to Buenos Aires, he opened a legal firm in his family home. He represented the University of Cordoba in various causes, as well as his uncle, Domingo Belgrano Peri. His friendship with Saturnino Rodriguez Pena was extended to his brother, Nicolas Rodriguez Pena, and his law partner, Hipolito Vieytes. Rodriguez Pena's house in the future would be the seat of frequent meetings of Creole revolutionaries.

In 1794 he married Rose Mary Lynch, with who he had seven children: Angela, Peter (later colonel), Luciano, Alejandro, Francisco, Jose and Juana.

First political steps

That arrival that year in Buenos Aires of a copy of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, promulgated by the French Revolution in 1789, proved influential among the Viceroyalty's intelligentsia, among whom the document circulated in secret. That year also had Manuel Belgrano return from his studies in Europe, and he was named Perpetual Secretary of Commerce of Buenos Aires. Both he and Castelli shared similar ideas on the Spanish trade monopoly and on the rights of the natives. Belgrano tried to appoint Castelli as interim Secretary of the Consulate, as his assistant, but faced strong opposition from the Spanish merchants that delayed the appointment until 1796. Belgrano's attempts to appoint Castelli as his successor was also prompted by disease incurred by him during his stay in Europe, which forced him to take extended leaves from work.

Similar opposition clouded the 1799 election of delegates to the Buenos Aires Cabildo: Castelli was elected as third Regidor, but was rejected by traders connected to the port of Cadiz. The fight lasted a year, until Viceroy Aviles accepted the counsel of the prominent local merchant Cornelio Saavedra, and confirmed Castelli in office by royal decree, in May 1800. Castelli, however, refused the post, citing the demands of his functions in the Consulate; this was seen as an insult by peninsular merchants, among them Martin de Alzaga, a leader in the Cabildo (city legislature).

When the mason Francisco Cabello y Mesa arrived from Spain, Belgrano and Castelli backed him on two projects: the creation of a "Patriotic Society, Literary and Economic" and the 1800 publication of the Commercial, Rural, Political, Economic and Historiography Telegraph of the River Plate, the first newspaper in Buenos Aires. Both projects were short-lived, however: the company was never formed and its activities were banned by royal order, while the Crown instructed the Consulate withdraw their support of the newspaper, which was shuttered. Published by Castelli, Cabello and Belgrano (secretary of the publication), as well as Jose Manuel Lavarden, Miguel de Azcuenaga and Fray Cayetano Rodriguez, the Telegraph was the first journal to advance the concept of fatherland, and the first to speak of the inhabitants as "Argentines."

Despite the closing of the Telegraph Companies, Hipolito Vieytes released Agriculture, Trade and Industry Weekly shortly afterwards, and included Castelli in its staff. Meeting at the home of Saturnino Rodriguez Pena, its editorial staff proposed ideas for technical improvements in agriculture, removing restrictions on trade, development, manufacturing, etc. It also presented biographies of the leaders of the American Revolution, such as Benjamin Franklin.

The British Invasions

Through Rodriguez Pena, Castelli came into contact with James Florence Burke, who claimed to represent the British Empire in support of proposals published by Francisco de Miranda, whose struggle in the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada propelled the emancipation of the Latin American colonies. Burke was actually an English spy, with a mission to obtain information on the Latin American colonies. Bearing promises of British support, he created the first native secret society organized for such purposes, and more would henceforth be known as "party of independence", which included Castelli, Burke and major contributors of Vieytes's newspaper. The spy was eventually discovered by Viceroy Rafael de Sobremonte, and expelled from the viceroyalty.

Castelli relocated, moving to a farm situated in what is now the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Nunez. Some of his neighbors in the area were Cornelio Saavedra, Juan Larrea, Miguel de Azcuenaga, and attorney Jose Darragueira. Supported by fields and a brick factory on the farm, the secret society meetings continued, unaffected by the departure of Burke. On June 2, 1806, Castelli's mother died, and he was still in mourning when news arrived that same month of the English landing in Quilmes.

The Independence Party was caught by surprise by the invasion, upon whose landing English speakers proclaimed respect for religion, ownership, order, freedom and trade (though not a word was issued concerning Miranda's ideals). An interview was arranged by the expedition's military leader, Viscount William Carr Beresford, who was asked to clarify whether the promises of Burke were still standing and if the British government would support independence. Beresford was evasive, saying he had no instructions to that effect and that with the recent death of Prime Minister William Pitt and the rise of the Liberals to power, further orders were needed.

The Creole leader understood this to mean that the force only aspired to annex the city to the British Empire, and marshalled resistance. Following Santiago de Liniers' reconquest of Buenos Aires, Saturnino Rodriguez Pena helped Beresford escape, hoping to influence an eventual second invasion to implement reforms supported by Burke and Miranda. The second British invasion buried the last hopes of the patriots' creole outreach strategy, a stance favored by Miranda, and divided Castelli Belgrano, Martin Rodriguez, Domingo French, and Antonio Beruti against former allies.

Following the successful defense of the city in 1807, disputes arose between the newly-appointed Viceroy, Santiago de Liniers, and the Buenos Aires Cabildo, led by Martin de Alzaga, who avoided letting the controversy distance him from Castelli and Rodriguez Pena: though the latter were seen as accomplices in Admiral Carr Beresford's escape, Alzaga and the Cabildo needed their support against Liniers.


At the end of 1807 an event occurred that revolutionized Spanish politics: after invading Portugal, Napoleon Bonaparte took Spain. King Charles IV abdicated in favor of his son Ferdinand VII, but Napoleon captured him and intervened to appoint in his place as king of Spain to his brother Joseph Bonaparte, in a series of transfers of the Spanish crown known as the abdications of Bayonne. The Spanish people organized Government Juntas to resist against the French occupation, and within months the Junta Central of Seville claimed supreme authority over Spain and the colonies. This situation encouraged the Princess Charlotte of Spain to claim the regency of the American colonies.

In this context, Castelli and Alzaga talked the possibility of expelling Liniers and constitute a government Junta of their own, similar to those of the metropolis. This project was not shared by most of the natives or by the head of the Regiment of Patricians, Cornelio Saavedra. Manuel Belgrano proposed as an alternative to support plans for the Princess Charlotte, which were adhered by Castelli and other criollos. Belgrano, who supported monarchy as the ideal type of government, argued that the carlotist project would be the most practical means of achieving independence from Spain in the circumstances experienced. On September 20, 1808 Castelli wrote a letter to Charlotte, with the signatures of Antonio Beruti, Hipolito Vieytes, Belgrano and Nicolas Rodriguez Pena.

However, Charlotte reneged on this support: the party of independence sought to establish a constitutional monarchy with Charlotte to the head, but she preferred to retain the power of an absolutist monarchy. Consequently, denounced the letter, and through his agent Michael Julian managed to have arrested Diego Paroissien and charged him with high treason, who had several letters to the Creoles. Castelli was his counsel.

Castelli won the acquittal of Paroissien invoking the doctrine of retroversion of the sovereignty of the people, claiming that the American lands were a personal possession of the King of Spain but not a Spanish colony. That approach was already old and was used to legislate separately in both districts, but in the new context Castelli argued that neither the Council of Regency or any other power of Spain other than the rightful King had authority over America. Castelli said that "''it's not enough the mere will of the people of Spain to bring the obedience of the Indies". Under these premises, Castelli argued successfully that the regency offered to the sister of the captive king, while not denying the legitimacy of Ferdinand VII, was not an act of treason but a legitimate political project that should be resolved by the American people without the intervention of the Spanish.

On January 1, 1809 Martin de Alzaga brought Vizcainos, Gallegos and Catalans batallions and attempted a coup to oust Liniers. A few criollos as Mariano Moreno layed their hopes for independence in this attempt, but most did not. The bodies of Patricians, Arribenos, Hussars, Artillery, Pardos and Morenos, accompanied by the Highlanders and Andalusians faithful to Liniers, conquer the Plaza and require the plotted forces to withdraw troops. Castelli supported Liniers, accusing Alzaga of independentism. The apparent contradiction is explained in that Alzaga, unlike the criollos, sought to depose the viceroy who opposed his interests, while maintaining the social dominance of the Peninsulares over the Criollos unchanged. Alzaga was defeated, and the power of the Criollos was increased: Sentenach and Alzaga were banished to El Carmen and the Spanish militias who attempted the coup were disbanded.

In July the new viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros arrived to the colony, and separatists did not agreed on a course of action. Castelli spoke to resume Alzaga idea of creating a governing Junta but not addressed by the Spanish, while Belgrano insisted on the Carlotist plan and Rodriguez Pena proposed a military coup, with or without Liniers to the head. But who won was Saavedra, who proposed postponing action. "It is not yet time, leave the figs ripen and then we'll eat them''".

May Revolution

When the news of the fall of the Junta of Seville in French hands arrived, the group of Castelli and Belgrano led the process leading to the May Revolution. Castelli and Saavedra were the most notorious leaders of those days, and first discarded Martin Rodriguez's plan to expel Cisneros by force. After several discussions, they decided to request the execution of an Open Cabildo. Castelli y Belgrano negotiated with the senior alcalde Juan de Lezica and the procurator, Julian de Leiva. Although able to convince them, they still needed the permission of Cisneros himself, for which Castelli and Rodriguez went to the room of the Fort. Previously, Cornelio Saavedra had denied Cisneros support from the patricians, on the premise that with the disappearance of the Junta of Seville who had appointed him as viceroy, he had no longer rights to hold that position.

Cisneros was exalted by the presence of Castelli and Rodriguez, who came without an appointment and armed, but they reacted harshly and demanded an immediate reply to the request for open cabildo. After a brief private conversation with the prosecutor Caspe, Cisneros agrees that the same is made. When the natives were leaving Cisneros consulted them about his personal safety, to which Castelli said: "Lord, Your Excellency's person and your family are among Americans, and this should reassure you." Following this interview went to the house Rodriguez Pena, to inform their supporters of what happened.

Besides his oratory, Castelli is known as the "Speaker of the Revolution" by the great activity that developed during the week of May. The memories of witnesses and actors in those days mentioned him on many sites and activities: negotiating with the Cabildo's men, at the home of the Rodriguez Pena, participating in planning the steps to follow for the criollos, barracks sandblasting militias, back and forth to Fort to pressure Cisneros. Cisneros himself, describing the events the Council of Regency, called Castelli "the most interested one in the novelty", ie, in the revolution.

The open cabildo was held on 22 May 1810, and it was debated whether the viceroy should continue or not in office, and if not who should replace him. The first opinion was from Bishop Benito Lue y Riega, which held that Cisneros should continue and that, if all of Spain will be held by France, the peninsular Spanish were meant to mandate in America. Castelli took the task to answer the bishop, and based his argument on the doctrine of the devolution of sovereignty of the peoples who had already employed in the defense of Paroissien. He insisted the idea that in the absence of a legitimate authority, sovereignty back to the people and it should govern itself. The idea to dismiss the viceroy won later, but as Buenos Aires had no authority to decide unilaterally the new form of government, they would elect a provisional government pending the deputies asked other cities to make the final decision. However, there were disputes over who should exercise the provisional government: some argued that the Cabildo should do so, and others that it should be elected a governing Junta. To unify criteria, Castelli bowed to Saavedra's proposal to form a Junta, but with the addition that the procurator of the chapter, Julian de Leiva, had the casting vote in their making. This sought to add to former supporters of Alzaga, as Mariano Moreno, Domingo Matheu and Leiva himself.

However, this power allowed Leiva to perform a maneuver that Castelli had not anticipated. Although it approved the cessation of Cisneros as viceroy, Leiva formed a Junta with Cisneros as president, such as he was retaining the power. The other members would have been the priest Juan Nepomuceno Sola, the merchant Jose Santos Inchaurregui, from the Spanish party, and Saavedra and Castelli on behalf of the Creoles. The bulk of the natives rejected the project: they did not accept that Cisneros remained in power, albeit under a different title, suspicious of the intentions of Saavedra, and believed that with Castelli alone in the Junta, little or nothing could be achieved. Castelli and Saavedra resigned that same day, and such Junta never came to govern.

That same night the creole leaders gathered at the home of Rodriguez Pena and compiled a list of members to a governing Junta that was presented on 25 May, while French, Beruti, Aparicio, Donado and armed men occupied the square and its accesses. The list brought together representatives of different extractions of local politics. Lezica finally reported Cisneros that he no longer command. The Primera Junta assumed government instead.

Castelli and Mariano Moreno led the more radical positions of the Junta. They had become close friends, and visited daily. Julio Cesar Chavez describes them as follows: "Passionate to the extreme, loyal to the slaughter with a friend or colleague, and relentless in its opposition to the enemy a final decision, holy, serving a cause imponderable and noble moral value , awareness of responsibility, energy, tenacity and unyielding resolution in the service: Juan Jose Castelli and Mariano Moreno.. " They shared the ideals of Rousseau and their determination to take more extreme measures in favor of the revolution will win the label of "Jacobins".

One of the first steps of Castelli on the Junta was the expulsion of Cisneros and the judges of the Audiencia, which were shipped off to Spain with the excuse that their lives would be endangered.

Execution of Liniers

Upon hearing the news of the change of government, Santiago de Liniers prepared a counter in the city of Cordoba. In just a couple of skirmishes the Expedition chief assistant, Francisco Ortiz de Ocampo, routed the militia assembled by Liniers and captured all the leaders. The initial orders were sent to Buenos Aires, but after his capture was decided to put them to death. This decision was taken in a resolution signed by all board members except Manuel Alberti, because as a priest could not give assent to the death penalty. The measure was rejected in Cordoba, and Ocampo and Chiclana decided to continue with the original orders to transfer the prisoners to the city.

The Junta endorsed the order, but excluding the bishop Orellana, who was banished instead. Castelli was commissioned by the Junta to comply with enforcement order that the general had not obeyed. Mariano Moreno said, "Go, Castelli, and I hope you will not incur the same weakness as our general, if not yet fulfilled the determination, will Larrea, and finally I'll go myself if necessary." Ocampo and Chiclana were removed from office. Its contributors to the mission Castelli Nicolas Rodriguez Pena elected as secretary, his former client as a doctor Diego Paroissien campaign and as head of Domingo French escort.

Just found the defendants, ordered and presided over the execution of the governor of Cordoba Juan Gutierrez de la Concha, the former Viceroy Santiago de Liniers, former Gov. James Alejo de Allende, the adviser and accountant Victorino Rodriguez Moreno, at Cabeza de Tigre, in the boundary between Santa Fe and Cordoba. The bishop of Cordoba, Rodrigo de Orellana, wasn't shot, but compelled to give spiritual assistance to those convicted and witness the execution. Domingo French was commissioned to execute the statement.

After shooting Liniers, Castelli briefly returned to Buenos Aires and meets with Moreno. He congratulated him for his conduct, and appointed him member representing the Junta, with full power to direct the operations to La Paz. He also left a series of instructions, including putting the government in the hands patriots win the favor of the Indians, and shot the president Nieto, the governor Sanz, Goyeneche and the Bishop of La Paz. He was also instructed to recover and add auxiliary army soldiers and Arribenos patricians and under the command of Vicente Nieto, had left Buenos Aires in 1809 to suppress the revolutions in Chuquisaca and La Paz. Suspicious of those soldiers, Nieto had disarmed and sent as prisoners to Potosi, under the supervision of Francisco de Paula Sanz. More than a third of those soldiers died within a month of work in the mine.

Campaign in the upper Peru

Castelli was not well received in Cordoba, where the executioned were popular, but he was in San Miguel de Tucuman. In Salta, despite being well received, had difficulty obtaining troops, mules, food, money or guns. He assumed the political leadership of the Expedition, displacing Hipolito Vieytes and replaced Ocampo by Colonel Antonio Gonzalez Balcarce. In Salta received news that Cochabamba joined the patriotic movement, although facing royalist forces from La Paz. He also had in his possession a letter from Nieto for Gutierrez de la Concha, already shot, about a royal army led by Goyeneche advancing over Jujuy. Balcarce, and in Potosi, is defeated by the forces of Nieto in Cotagaita, what motivates Castelli to send two hundred men and two guns flat out to strengthen them. With these reinforcements Balcarce achieved the victory of Suipacha, that allowed them to control all of Upper Peru unopposed. Among the men sent, recruited in Salta and Santiago del Estero, was a former officer of the Hussars in the city which would become a leader of the independence struggles in the region: Martin Miguel de Guemes.

At Villa Imperial, one of the most affluent of Upper Peru, a town-hall calls Goyeneche to withdraw from territory, to which access should not have strength to prevail. The Bishop of La Paz, Remigio La Santa y Ortega, flees with him. Castelli is received in Potosi, where required oath of allegiance to the Junta and the delivery of the royalist generals Francisco de Paula Sanz and Jose de Cordoba, who were shot. To capture Vicente Nieto decided that the operation was carried out exclusively by the patricians survivors of Potosi, which had been incorporated with honors to the rebel army. For its part, Goyeneche and the Bishop from La Paz were also convicted legally, but the sentence was never executed because they were safe on royalist land. Bernardo Monteagudo, Real Jail inmate at the Court of Chuquisaca for his participation in the revolution of 1809, learned of the approach of the army and managed to escape to join their ranks. Castelli, who already knew the background of Monteagudo, did not hesitate to appoint its secretary.

He set up his government in Chuquisaca, where he presided over the change of regime in the entire region. He planned the reorganization of the Potosi Mint, planned reform of the University of Charcas and proclaimed the end of Indian slavery in Upper Peru, canceling the tutelage and giving them as neighbors and political rights equal to those of the Creoles. It also prohibited the establishment of new convents and parishes, to avoid the common practice that, under the guise of spreading the Christian doctrine, the Indians were forced into servitude by religious orders. Authorized free trade and redistributed land expropriated from the former workers of the mills. The decree was published in Castilian, Guarani, Quechua and Aymara, and also opened several bilingual schools. Celebrated on 25 May 1811 in Tiahuanaco with Indian chiefs, where he paid tribute to the ancient Incas, encouraging people to rise against the Spanish. Yet despite the welcome received Castelli was aware that most of the aristocracy supported the auxiliary army for fear that genuine support to the cause of May.

The orders were received from the Junta with Creole occupy all important positions, and break the alliance between the Spanish and Creole elite.

In November 1810 he sent the Junta a plan: to cross the river Desaguadero border between the two viceroys, and take control of the Peruvian city halls Puno, Cuzco and Arequipa. Castelli argued that it was urgent to rise against Lima, because its economy depended largely on those districts and if they lose their power over the bulwark ain realistic would be threatened. The plan was rejected as too brash, and was required to comply with the orders Castelli originals. Castelli obeyed as ordered.

In December banished to Salta to about fifty-three Spanish, and referred the decision to Junta approval. The vocal Domingo Matheu, who had business dealings with Tulla and Pedro Salvador Casas, arranged the annulment of the act, arguing that Castelli had acted influenced by slander and unfounded accusations. "'(...) Four drunks feel that they were breaking a work as great as that we have to crown (...)". In contrast, Dr. John Wood, a member of the Army of Castelli, not share the opinion of the Board: "(...) it happened they were pardoned and sent back to Potosi by the government of Buenos Aires against the sentiment of all good patriots and cause considerable prejudice to the public, because in the month of May 1811 they formed a hideous conspiracy, when they were caught in a place called the Copacabana beguinage, having made a fire and resistance and these individ not be punished ".

Support for Castelli began to decline, mainly due to the treatment of Indians and the determined opposition of the church, attacking Castelli through his secretary Bernardo Monteagudo and his public atheism. Both Lima realistic as the Buenos Aires Saavedra in comparing them both with Maximilien Robespierre. The Dean Funes considered them "thugs robesperriano system of the French Revolution."

Castelli also abolished the mita in Upper Peru, a project that was shared by Mariano Moreno, but Moreno was by then removed from the Junta, with the addition of the deputies of the interior was transformed into the Junta Grande. WithoutCastelli being in Buenos Aires to mediate between them, the disputes between Morenist and Saavedrist had worsened. The Junta requested Castelli to moderate their actions, but he went ahead with the positions he shared with Moreno. Several officers Saavedra - Echaurri including Jose Maria Jose Leon Dominguez, Matias Balbastro, Father Manuel Antonio Azcurra chaplain and the sergeant major Toribio de Luzuriaga - planned to kidnap Castelli and Balcarce, Buenos Aires refer them to judge and give the command of the Army northern Juan Jose Viamonte. However, Viamonte own did not receive the plan when he was informed by the conspirators, and did not attempt to run.

He wrote to Vieytes, Rodriguez Pena, Larrea and asking Azcuenaga traveling to Upper Peru, and that after the defeat of Goyeneche march on Buenos Aires, but the letter was sent by the relay service and the postmaster of Cordoba, Jose de Peace, decides to send it to Cornelio Saavedra.

The battle of Huaqui

The order of the Junta not to proceed on the Viceroyalty of Peru was a de facto truce that would last while not attacking Goyeneche. Castelli tried to turn the situation into a formal agreement, which would imply recognition of the Junta as a legitimate interlocutor. Goyeneche agreed to sign an armistice for 40 days until Lima was issued, and used that time to be strengthened. On 19 June, the truce still in effect, an advanced royalist troop attacked positions at Juraicoragua. Castelli declared broken the truce and declared war on Peru.

The royal army crossed the Drainage on 20 June 1811, starting the Battle of Huaqui. The Army waited about Huaqui Helper, between the plains of Azapanal and Lake Titicaca. The patriotic left wing, commanded by Diaz Velez, faced the bulk of the royalist forces, while the center was hit by the soldiers of Pio Tristan. Viamonte did not send reinforcements, many patriotic soldiers recruited in Upper Peru surrendered or fled, and many of the recruits in La Paz switched sides in battle.

Although auxiliary army casualties were not substantial, it was left to win by terror and disbanded. The inhabitants of Upper Peru's left and opened the gates of their cities to the royalists, so the army had to quickly leave those provinces. If persecution was not a disaster and the invaders quickly attacked the Rio de la Plata was because of the heroic resistance of Cochabamba. Castelli goes to the post of Quirbe on 26 August 1811, and there received orders to go down to Buenos Aires for trial. However, upon learning of such orders they had already been replaced by others: Castelli should be confined at Catamarca, while Saavedra himself took charge of the Northern army. But shortly after leaving Buenos Aires, Saavedra is deposed and confined in San Juan as the First Triumvirate assumes the government replacing the Junta Grande. Castelli is required again in Buenos Aires.

Once in Buenos Aires, Castelli is in a situation of political isolation. The triumvirate and the newspaper La Gazeta accused him of defeat in Huaqui and seek punishment exemplifying conduct, while former Independence Party is divided between those who joined the flow of the Triumvirate and those no longer able to do much. The trial starting soon, so in January 1812 claimed to be performed quickly. Two weeks after the judge recused Echeverria, former lawyer Liners. For that he knew he was suffering from tongue cancer, which made him progressively difficult to speak.

The trial was not made clear whether it was a political trial or a military trial, nor what the exact charge on Castelli. The questions analyzed not only their responsibility in defeating Huaqui, but other issues as if "maintained sexual intercourse with women, surrendered to the vice of hard liquor or gambling. " Bernardo de Monteagudo was the main advocate for Castelli. Nicolas Rodriguez Pena also defended him.

Castelli died on 12 October 1812, with the trial still open. Just before his death asked for paper and pencil and wrote "If you see the future, tell him not to come". He had a small and modest burial in the church of San Ignacio in the Ciudad de Buenos Aires, without official honors. After his death, the widow Mary Rose Lynch had to sell his farm to pay debts, and spent years demanding unpaid salaries to their deceased husband. This sum amounted to 3378 dollars and was completed after 13 years to pay. The case opened against him was never sentenced.


One of the features commonly noted Castelli are his public speaking skills, and is often known as the "May orator" or "the speaker of the revolution."

Several streets and squares in cities and towns in Argentina reminds the hero, including three locations in Chaco, Buenos Aires and La Rioja. All are headers party or department.

The lives of Castelli and Monteagudo are represented in a cartoon of the series "La Historieta Argentina", headed by historian Felipe Pigna. There are dashes of Stephen D'Aranno, Julio Leiva and Pigna himself, and drawings by Michael Scenna.

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