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Antonio Pareja

Brigadier Antonio Pareja was a Spanish naval officer, who commanded Royalist troops during the Chilean War of Independence.

He was born in Cabra, near Cordoba, Spain. In 1805 he took part in the Battle of Trafalgar as captain of the ship Argonauta. He arrived in Lima in 1811 as governor-intendant of the province of Concepcion, in Chile. Instead, Viceroy Jose Fernando de Abascal y Sousa ordered him to Chiloe and Valdivia to organize forces for the reconquest of Chile, which had declared its independence.

Early in 1813, he landed at San Vicente with 2,000 men, occupied Talcahuano, and immediately marched upon Concepcion, of which he took possession with the aid of the native militia. He augmented his forces to about 4,000 soldiers and at once marched upon Chillan, which surrendered without fight and swelled his army with about 2,000 extra soldiers.

In the meantime, Brigadier Jose Miguel Carrera, head of the independentist government, had organized the resistance in Santiago. Both armies met at the Battle of Yerbas Buenas. The independentists, that had attempted a night surprise, had to retreat while presenting a strong resistance. Pareja, sick with neumonia, decided then to retreat back to Chillan. He was already so sick that he had to be carried on a stretcher. In Chillan he had to submit to a prolongued siege. While there, the port of Talcahuano was recaptured by the independentists, who also managed to captured the frigate Tomas which was coming from Callao with re-enforcements. Pareja, already weakened by his neumonia and grieved by these reverses, died shortly afterward. His command of the royalist army was assumed by Juan Francisco Sanchez.

His son, Admiral Juan Manuel Pareja commanded the Spanish fleet during the Chincha Islands War (1864 - 1866).

See also

Chilean Independence

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