Andres de Santa Cruz
Andres de Santa Cruz y Calahumana was President of Peru (1827) and Bolivia (1829-1839). He also served as Supreme Protector of the short-lived Peru-Bolivian Confederation (1836-1839), a political entity created mainly by his personal endeavors.
Santa Cruz was born on December 5, 1792 in the city of La Paz, which at that time had been recently transferred from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. His father was a Spaniard, Jose Santa Cruz y Villavicencio, and his mother an Indian, Juana Basilia Calahumana, cacique of the town of Huarina. In later years, Andres de Santa Cruz would claim that through his mother he descended directly from Inca rulers. He began his studies in his hometown at the San Francisco Convent and continued them at the San Antonio Abad Seminary in the city of Cuzco, but in 1809 he deserted and returned to La Paz.
At the time of the landing of the rebel army of Jose de San Martin on the Peruvian coast, Santa Cruz was commander of militia forces in the region of Huarochiri. In that position, he fought against the independetist in the Battle of Pasco , but the royalists were defeated and Santa Cruz captured. Taken to San Martin's headquarters at Huaura he decided to switch sides and joined the Patriot Army . Santa Cruz ascended rapidly, reaching the rank of Colonel later that year and that of Brigade General in 1822 for leading Peruvian troops at the Battle of Pichincha (24 May 1822). He revolted against the Peruvian Congress on February 26, 1823, and forced it to elect Jose de la Riva Aguero as President. As commander of a Peruvian Army expedition he occupied the port of Arica and defeated a royalist army at the Battle of Zepita but failed to exploit his victory and retreated hastily.