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Antonio Jose de Sucre

Antonio Jose de Sucre y Alcala , known as the "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho" , was a Venezuelan independence leader. Sucre was one of Simon Bolivar's closest friends, generals and statesmen.


Sucre was born in a family of Cumana which was then part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada and the Captaincy-General of Venezuela, son of Vicente de Sucre y Garcia de Urbaneja and wife Maria Manuela de Alcala y Sanchez Ramirez de Arellano. There is some dispute as to his ancestry. According to one noted Venezuelan genealogist, Sucre is a descendant of Charles de Succre, a member of a French-Flemish family appointed by the king of Spain to be governor of Cuba. According to the German "Lexikon des Judentums", however, Sucre is a descendant of a Bavarian Jewish family named "Zucker".

Military life

In 1814, Sucre joined the battles for American independence from Spain. He proved himself an able military leader; in 1818, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and in 1821, at the age of 26, he was given the rank of brigadier general, making him one of the youngest Generals in the army. After the Battle of Boyaca, Sucre was made Bolivar's chief of staff.

In 1821, Bolivar put him in charge of the campaign to liberate Quito, and Sucre won a decisive victory at the Battle of Pichincha on May 24, 1822. Shortly after the battle, Sucre and Bolivar entered the newly-liberated Quito and Sucre was named President of the Province of Quito.

Further victories followed over the Spanish forces in Peru, notably on August 6, 1824 at the Battle of Junin. On December 9, Sucre decisively captured the bulk of the Spanish troops and command, including the Viceroy, at Ayacucho. The victory ensured the independence of Peru and Alto Peru, which Sucre and others soon established as the new country of Bolivia, thus ending all fighting for independence in Spanish South America. As a reward for his efforts, Sucre was given the highest possible honorary title of the "Grand Marshall of Ayacucho" at the age of 29.

After the victory at Ayacucho, Bolivar would write his Resumen Sucinto de la Vida del General Sucre, a short biography full of flattering comments about his lieutenant. In a letter telling Sucre of the biography he had written, Bolivar said:

Post-independence period

Sucre was elected president of Bolivia in 1826, but he became dissatisfied with local political developments. In 1828, when a strong movement rose up against Bolivar, his followers and the very constitution he had written for Bolivia, Sucre resigned and moved to Quito, the home city of his wife, Mariana de Carcelen y Larrea, Marquess of Solanda , daughter of Felipe de Carcelen y Sanchez de Orellana and wife Teresa de Larrea y Jijon. He was never entirely comfortable in politics and intended to retire from it. In that year he had an illegitimate son by Manuela de la Concepcion de Roxas y Iniguez named Pedro Cesar de Sucre y Roxas on June 7, 1828.

In late 1828, at the urging of Bolivar, the Congress of Gran Colombia named him President of Congress. They also intended to name him president of the republic as Bolivar's would-be successor, but it never came to pass because Sucre likely would have it turned down. Sucre was named member of a commission, led by Jose Antonio Paez, that traveled to Venezuela in 1829 to quell political separatism among local authorities. The difficulty of this task added to Sucre's continuing dissatisfaction with Gran Colombia's political environment. In that year he had an only daughter by his marriage Teresa de Sucre y Carcelen, who was born in Quito on June 30, 1829 but died there on November 15, 1831.

Death and legacy

In early 1830, when Sucre heard the news about Bolivar's resignation and intention to leave the country, he decided to go to Quito in order to resume his private life, but was shot from ambush near Pasto, at the Sierra de Berruecos in southern Colombia on June 4, 1830.

The details of the murder were unclear and theories about the reason for it abound. One of the older and better documented theories says that Jose Maria Obando was the assassination's mastermind, and one of the alleged assassins named in this theory was later executed for his apparent role. Later theories implicated different (or additional) individuals, such as Juan Jose Flores, Agustin Gamarra, and Francisco de Paula Santander.

Some have argued that Sucre was assassinated so as to leave no clear successor to Bolivar. Sucre represented, according to historian Tomas Polanco Alcantara, "the indispensable complement to Simon Bolivar". When news of Sucre's death came to Bolivar, he said, "Se ha derramado, Dios excelso, la sangre del inocente Abel..." . Bolivar later wrote :

The department of Sucre in Colombia and the city of Sucre in Bolivia are named after him. The former currency of Ecuador was the sucre, and the State of Venezuela in which he was born, Cumana, was renamed Sucre. A large neighborhood in the city of Caracas is named Sucre. Some of his descendants in Venezuela have followed in his military and political footsteps.

Antonio Jose de Sucre is buried in the Cathedral of Quito, Ecuador, as it was expressed by him in life "I want my bones to be forever in Quito".

External links

Historic document: Memoria a la asamblea del Alto Peru en el dia de su instalacion.

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