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Juan Antonio Pezet

Juan Antonio Pezet was a Peruvian military officer and politician who served in the positions of Secretary of War, Vice President and President of Peru during his life. As President, his moderate and cautious attitude towards the occupation of the Chincha Islands by a Spanish Fleet in 1864 was used as an excuse to launch a military uprising that drove him out of power.

Juan Antonio Pezet Rodriguez Piedra was born in Lima, Peru, the son of Dr. Jose Pezet Monel, a physician, journalist, literary and parliamentarian who was among the enterprising heroes of Peru's independence. His French-born grandfather, Antoine Pezet Eustache, had arrived in Lima in 1765. As a boy, Pezet briefly entered the Jesuit College of San Carlos. When General Jose de San Martin with the Chilean army obliged the viceroy to evacuate Lima in 1821, young Pezet joined the patriots and took part in the campaign as sub-lieutenant. In 1823, he was promoted to lieutenant, and under Bolivar and Sucre, he fought at Junin and Ayacucho.

In 1859, Pezet was secretary of war; in 1862, he was elected first vice-president with General San Roman, assuming the presidency following the death of the latter in 1863. During his administration, the difficulties with Spain, which culminated in the occupation of the Chincha Islands on 14 April 1864, began.

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