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Manuel Jose Joaquin del Corazon de Jesus Belgrano, usually referred to as Manuel Belgrano was an Argentine economist, lawyer, politician, and military leader. He took part in the Argentine Wars of Independence and created the Flag of Argentina. He is regarded as one of the main Libertadores of the country.
Belgrano, born in Buenos Aires, the fourth child of the Italian businessman Domingo Belgrano y Peri and Josefa Casero, was a notable member of the criollo population of Buenos Aires, and came into contact with the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment when studying at the University of Spain, by the time the French Revolution took place at the neighbour country. Upon his return to the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata he tried to promote some of the new political and economic ideals, but found severe resistence from local peninsulares. This lead him to work towards getting higher autonomy from the metropole. At first he promoted the aspirations of Carlota Joaquina to became the regent ruler of the Viceroyalty during the imprisoment of Ferdinand VII during the Peninsular War, but without success. He promoted later the May Revolution, which removed the viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros from power, and was elected as member of the Primera Junta that took power after him.
He led the ill-fated Paraguay campaign and was defeated by Bernardo Velazco at the battles of Campichuelo and Paraguari, but the conflict started the events that would lead to the independence of Paraguay in 1811. He moved next to the city of Rosario to fortify it against a possible attack, and created the flag of Argentina while being there. The First Triumvirate did not approve it, but because of slow communications Belgrano learned so many weeks later, while reinforcing the Army of the North at Jujuy. Being at a strategic disadvantage against the Royalist armies, Belgrano ordered the Jujuy Exodus, moving the whole city to San Miguel de Tucuman. The counter-offensive of the battle of Tucuman proved a key victory, followed by the complete defeat of Pio Tristan at the battle of Salta. By then, the Asamblea del Ano XIII approved the use of the flag, but only as a war flag. However, deeper incursions in the north would be followed by the defeats at Vilcapugio and Ayohuma, which made the Second Triumvirate replace him with Jose de San Martin.
Instituto Nacional Belgraniano
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