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Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata

Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata

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The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, , was the last and most short-lived Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire in America
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

.

The Viceroyalty was established in 1776 out of several former Viceroyalty of Perú
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

 dependencies that mainly extended over the Río de la Plata basin, roughly the present day territories of Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

 and Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

. Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, located on the western shore of the Río de la Plata
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

 estuary, opposite the Portuguese outpost of Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of around 22,000.It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site...

, was chosen as the capital. Usually considered one of the late Bourbon Reforms
Bourbon Reforms
The Bourbon Reforms were a set of economic and political legislation introduced by the Spanish Crown under various kings of the House of Bourbon throughout the 18th century. The reforms were intended to stimulate manufacturing and technology in order to modernize Spain...

, its creation was both motivated on commercial grounds (Buenos Aires was by then a major spot for illegal trade
Contraband
The word contraband, reported in English since 1529, from Medieval French contrebande "a smuggling," denotes any item which, relating to its nature, is illegal to be possessed or sold....

), as well as on security concerns brought about by the growing interest some foreign powers had over the area, namely Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 and the Kingdom of Portugal
Kingdom of Portugal
The Kingdom of Portugal was Portugal's general designation under the monarchy. The kingdom was located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula, Europe and existed from 1139 to 1910...

.

However, the Enlightening reforms proved counterproductive, or perhaps too late to quell the colonies' demands. In fact, the entire existence of the Viceroyalty was characterised by growing unrest and instability. Between 1780 and 1782, the Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II
Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II
The Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II was an uprising of native and mestizo peasants against the Bourbon reforms in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru...

 inspired a violent Aymara-led revolt across the Upper Peru
Upper Peru
Upper Peru was the region in the Viceroyalty of Peru, and after 1776, the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, comprising the governorships of Potosí, La Paz, Cochabamba, Los Chiquitos, Moxos and Charcas...

 highlands, evidencing the huge resentment towards colonial authorities from both mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s and indigenous populations. Twenty-five years later, two successive British attempts at conquering Buenos Aires and Montevideo
British invasions of the Río de la Plata
The British invasions of the Río de la Plata were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of the Spanish colonies located around the La Plata Basin in South America . The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of...

 were successfully repealed by Criollo
Criollo people
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

-led defenses, enhancing their perceived autonomous capabilities as the Spanish troops were unable to help.

In 1809, criollos and mestizos revolted against colonial authorities at La Paz
La Paz revolution
The city of La Paz experimented a revolution in 1809 that deposed Spanish authorities and declared independence. It is considered one of the early steps of the Spanish American wars of independence, and an antecedent of the independence of Bolivia...

 and Chuquisaca
Chuquisaca Revolution
The Chuquisaca Revolution was a popular uprising on 25 May 1809 against the governor and intendant of Chuquisaca , Ramón García León de Pizarro. The Real Audiencia of Charcas, with support from the faculty of University of Saint Francis Xavier, deposed the governor and formed a junta...

, establishing revolutionary Juntas
Junta (Peninsular War)
In the Napoleonic era, junta was the name chosen by several local administrations formed in Spain during the Peninsular War as a patriotic alternative to the official administration toppled by the French invaders...

. Albeit short-lived themselves, they provided some strong theoretical basis
Retroversion of the sovereignty to the people
The Retroversion of the sovereignty to the people, which challenged the legitimacy of the colonial authorities, was the principle underlying the Spanish American Independence processes....

 for the legitimacy of the locally-based governing juntas that proved decisive at the 1810 May Revolution
May Revolution
The May Revolution was a week-long series of events that took place from May 18 to 25, 1810, in Buenos Aires, capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish colony that included roughly the territories of present-day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay...

 events that deposed Viceroy Cisneros
Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros
Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros de la Torre was a Spanish naval officer born in Cartagena. He took part in the Battle of Cape St Vincent and the Battle of Trafalgar, and in the Spanish resistance against Napoleon's invasion in 1808. He was later appointed Viceroy of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la...

 at Buenos Aires.

The revolution spread all over the Viceroyalty, except for Paraguay (which declared itself an independent nation in 1811) and the Upper Peru
Upper Peru
Upper Peru was the region in the Viceroyalty of Peru, and after 1776, the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, comprising the governorships of Potosí, La Paz, Cochabamba, Los Chiquitos, Moxos and Charcas...

 (which remained controlled by royalist troops from Lima, and was eventually re-incorporated into the Viceroyalty of Peru). Meanwhile, the Governor of Montevideo Francisco Javier de Elío
Francisco Javier de Elío
Francisco Javier de Elío , was a Spanish military, governor of Montevideo and the last Viceroy of the Río de la Plata. He was also instrumental in the Absolutist repression after the restoration of Ferdinand VII as King of Spain...

, appointed as a new Viceroy by the Cortes of Cádiz in 1811, declared the Buenos Aires Junta
Primera Junta
The Primera Junta or First Assembly is the most common name given to the first independent government of Argentina. It was created on 25 May 1810, as a result of the events of the May Revolution. The Junta initially had representatives from only Buenos Aires...

 seditious. However, after being defeated at Las Piedras
Battle of Las Piedras
The Battle of Las Piedras was fought on May 18, 1811 as part of the Uruguayan struggle for independence.-Background and development of events:...

 he was only left in control of Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo, so he returned to Spain on November 18 and resigned as Viceroy on January 1812. By 1814, as the patriots
Patriot (Spanish American Revolution)
Patriots was the name the peoples of the Spanish America, who rebelled against Spanish control during the Spanish American wars of independence, called themselves. They supported the principles of the Age of Enlightenment and sought to replace the existing governing structures with Juntas...

 entered Montevideo, following a years-long siege, the Viceroyalty effectively ceased to exist.

Origin and creation


In 1680, Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 Manuel Lobo created the Department of Colonia and founded Colónia do Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of around 22,000.It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site...

, a fort located in present Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

's coast and the department's capital. The main objective was to secure the Portuguese expansion of Brazil
Portuguese colonization of the Americas
Portugal was the leading country in the European exploration of the world in the 15th century. The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the Earth, outside Europe, in 1494 into Spanish and Portuguese global territorial hemispheres for exclusive conquest and colonization...

 beyond the Treaty of Tordesillas
Treaty of Tordesillas
The Treaty of Tordesillas , signed at Tordesillas , , divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagueswest of the Cape Verde islands...

 that was rendered meaningless between 1580 and 1640 while Spain controlled Portugal. José de Garro
José de Garro
Marcos José de Garro Senei de Artola, nicknamed "El Santo" , was a Spanish military man who served in many positions in the colonial administration of the Spanish Empire. He served as governor of Tucumán from 1675–1678, governor of Buenos Aires from 1678–1682 and governor of Chile from 1682-1692...

 quickly attacked and seized the fort for Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, but on May 7, 1681 it was handed back to Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 due to the Provisional Treaty of Lisbon.

On the other hand, the Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

 required all commerce to be performed through Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

's port, which restrained the Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 natural port potential economy, a problem that also caused large contraband
Contraband
The word contraband, reported in English since 1529, from Medieval French contrebande "a smuggling," denotes any item which, relating to its nature, is illegal to be possessed or sold....

 activities in the region, especially in Asunción
Asunción
Asunción is the capital and largest city of Paraguay.The "Ciudad de Asunción" is an autonomous capital district not part of any department. The metropolitan area, called Gran Asunción, includes the cities of San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora, Lambaré, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Ñemby, San...

, Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 and Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

.

Under these conditions, King Charles III of Spain
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

 issued a decree for the former Governor of the Río de la Plata Pedro Antonio de Cevallos
Pedro Antonio de Cevallos
Pedro Antonio de Cevallos Cortés y Calderón, also spelled Ceballos , was a Spanish military, Governor of Buenos Aires between 1757 and 1766, and the first Viceroy of the Río de la Plata in 1776....

 creating the new viceroyalty, in August 1776. The ruling found resistance in Lima, but was enforced anyway. The Cabildo of the Captaincy General of Chile requested the King not to be included into the new viceroyalty, which was accepted. However the Cuyo region
Cuyo (Argentina)
Cuyo is the name given to the wine-producing, mountainous area of central-west Argentina. Historically it comprised the provinces of San Juan, San Luis and Mendoza. The term New Cuyo is a modern one, which indicates both Cuyo proper and the province of La Rioja...

 with its main city Mendoza
Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza Province, in Argentina. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes. As of the , Mendoza's population was 110,993...

 was split from the Captaincy General of Chile, something resented in Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

 since that region had been originally settled from Chile.

The Portuguese prime minister Marquis of Pombal continued to encourage the occupation of territory which had already been awarded to the Spanish in the Treaty of Paris (1763)
Treaty of Paris (1763)
The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763, by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

. King Charles III
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

 quickly reacted to the advantageous conditions: France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 was bound to be an ally as a guarantor of the treaty, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 due to its own colony problems couldn't help being neutral.

Pedro de Cevallos would then conquer Colonia del Sacramento and the Santa Catarina
Santa Catarina (island)
Florianópolis Island is an island in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. It is located on the south coast of Brazil between the south 27° latitude and west 48° longitude...

 islands after a siege of three days, which led to the First Treaty of San Ildefonso
First Treaty of San Ildefonso
The First Treaty of San Ildefonso was signed on October 1, 1777 between the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire, shortly after the crowning of Mary I of Portugal and dismissal of Sebastião de Melo, Marquis of Pombal as de facto ruler of Portugal....

. With it, the Portuguese would retire from the Río de la Plata and leave the Banda Oriental
Banda Oriental
The Banda Oriental del Uruguay was the South American territory east of the Uruguay River and north of the Río de la Plata, coinciding approximately with the modern nation of Uruguay, the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul and some parts of Santa Catarina...

 for Spain, but in exchange Spain would leave for them the area of Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil, and the state with the fifth highest Human Development Index in the country. In this state is located the southernmost city in the country, Chuí, on the border with Uruguay. In the region of Bento Gonçalves and Caxias do Sul, the largest wine...

. Cevallos ends his military actions at this point and starts working with government, but was soon replaced by Juan José Vertiz y Salcedo. One of their first tasks was to promote local production of linen and hemp, to provide the Spanish cloth industries that the Bourbons sought to favor.

The early viceroyalty



The conditions imposed by Spain to local commerce were high, but Charles III sought to reduce them a little. One such ruling allowed commerce as long as ships were Spanish and manned with Spanish naval officers. The ports of Buenos Aires and Montevideo were included in a list of Spanish ports allowed to commerce between themselves, certain Spanish American productions were free of taxes to enter Spain, and all the cities with ports would have Consulates or Tribunals of Commerce. This system wasn't a system of free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

 yet, but it would be an antecedent of it. In the 1778-1788 period the commerce between Spain and Spanish America grew nearly 700%. Buenos Aires would get its own customs in 1778, and Montevideo in 1789. Spanish policy aimed to truncate Argentina commerce and the Empire banned export of silver from Buenos Aires and tried to get all shipments out of Potosi.

The system of corregimiento
Corregimiento
Corregimiento is a term used in Colombia to define a subdivision of Colombian departments. According to the Colombian Constitution of 1991 and Decree 2274 of October 4, 1991, Corregimiento is an internal part of a Department or province, which includes a population core...

s to mark the subdivisions of the territory was ended in 1782, and replaced with Intendencias by another ruling of Charles III. The new system was intended to re-enforce the royal authority and promote centralization. Buenos Aires had the main intendencia, and the other cities provincial ones. Cevallos reinstated in 1778 the Real Audiencia of Buenos Aires
Real Audiencia of Buenos Aires
The Real Audiencia de Buenos Aires, were two audiencias, or highest courts, of the Spanish crown, which resided in Buenos Aires. The authority of the first extended to the territory of the Governorate of the Río de la Plata and operated from 1661 to 1671...

, but not moving back the one from Cochamba but creating a new one. The Consulate of Commerce of Buenos Aires was ruled to be created the same year, but legal difficulties delayed its actual creation up to 1794.

In 1766, Spain acquired the French colony on the Falkland Islands, called Port St. Louis, and after assuming effective control in 1767, placed the islands under a governor subordinate to the Buenos Aires colonial administration. The expulsion of the British settlement brought the two countries to the brink of war in 1770, but a peace treaty allowed the British to return from 1771 until 1776 with neither side relinquishing sovereignty.

Decline


By the nineteenth century Buenos Aires was becoming more self-sufficient, producing about 600,000 cattle a year (of which about one quarter was consumed locally), prompting the development of the area. But wars with Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 meant a great setback for the region's economy as maritime communications were practically paralyzed. The Alto Peru region started to show contempt as the expenses of administration and defense of the Río de la Plata estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 were mainly supported by the declining Potosí production. For instance, in the first years of the viceroyalty, around 75% of the expenses were covered with revenues that came from the north. The Alto Plata (mostly present Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

) also had problems with the Buenos Aires administration, particularly because of the monopoly of its port on embarkations.

The Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 preoccupied the Spanish government and, in time, resulted in Napoleon's placing his brother Joseph
Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily , and later King of Spain...

 on the Spanish throne. By 1805, Spain had to help France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 because of their 1795 alliance, and had lost its navy in the Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

, but the Spanish prime minister had warned the viceroyalty of the likelihood of a British invasion
British invasions of the Río de la Plata
The British invasions of the Río de la Plata were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of the Spanish colonies located around the La Plata Basin in South America . The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of...

, and that in such an event the city of Buenos Aires would be on its own.

On June 27, 1806 a small British force of around 1,500 men under Col.
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 William Carr Beresford
William Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford
General William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford, 1st Marquis of Campo Maior, GCB, GCH, GCTE, PC , was a British soldier and politician...

 successfully invaded Buenos Aires after a failed attempt to stop him from viceroy Rafael de Sobremonte
Rafael de Sobremonte
Don Rafael de Sobremonte y Núñez del Castillo, 3rd Marquis of Sobremonte , third Marquis of Sobremonte, was an aristocrat, military man and Spanish colonial administrator, and Viceroy of the Río de la Plata...

, who fled to Córdoba
Córdoba, Argentina
Córdoba is a city located near the geographical center of Argentina, in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas on the Suquía River, about northwest of Buenos Aires. It is the capital of Córdoba Province. Córdoba is the second-largest city in Argentina after the federal capital Buenos Aires, with...

. The British forces were thrown back by the criollos on December 1806, a militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 force from Montevideo under the leadership of Santiago de Liniers
Santiago de Liniers
Jacques de Liniers was a French officer in the Spanish military service, and a viceroy of the Spanish colonies of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. He is more widely known by the Spanish form of his name, Santiago de Liniers...

. In February 1807, British reinforcements of about 8,000 men under Gen.
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 Sir
Sir
Sir is an honorific used as a title , or as a courtesy title to address a man without using his given or family name in many English speaking cultures...

 Samuel Auchmuty
Samuel Auchmuty (general)
Lieutenant General Sir Samuel Auchmuty, GCB was a British general.-Origins:Sir Samuel's grandfather, Robert Auchmuty , was descended from a family settled in Fife, Scotland, in the 14th century...

 captured Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 after a fierce fight, and in May Lt. Gen. John Whitelock arrived to take overall command and attacked Buenos Aires on July 5, 1807. After losing more than half his force killed and captured, Whitelock signed a cease-fire and left for Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

.

Thus, lack of support from Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and the confidence-boost by the fresh defeat of a world power prompted a movement towards independence at the expense of the viceroyalty. As of 1810, Argentina had been self-governed for about a year and Paraguay had already declared its independence, and the viceroyalty was effectively dissolved.

Government



The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata was a viceroyalty created in 1776 by the Spanish king Charles III of Spain
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

. Although it functioned as a Spanish colony, Río de la Plata was technically a personal possession of the King of Spain. This allowed both European Spain and its overseas territories to have their own laws and regulations.

Dependencies

  • Intendency
    Intendant
    The title of intendant has been used in several countries through history. Traditionally, it refers to the holder of a public administrative office...

    ¹ of Buenos Aires: cities of Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

    , Corrientes
    Corrientes
    Corrientes is the capital city of the province of Corrientes, Argentina, located on the eastern shore of the Paraná River, about from Buenos Aires and from Posadas, on National Route 12...

    , Santa Fe
    Santa Fe, Argentina
    Santa Fe is the capital city of province of Santa Fe, Argentina. It sits in northeastern Argentina, near the junction of the Paraná and Salado rivers. It lies opposite the city of Paraná, to which it is linked by the Hernandarias Subfluvial Tunnel. The city is also connected by canal with the...

    , Colonia
    Colonia del Sacramento
    Colonia del Sacramento is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of around 22,000.It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site...

     and Carmen de Patagones
    Carmen de Patagones
    - Geography :It is located 937 km from the city of Buenos Aires, on the north bank of the Río Negro , near the Atlantic Ocean, and opposite Viedma, capital of the province of Río Negro...

    .
  • Government
    Province
    A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

    ² of Montevideo: city of Montevideo
    Montevideo
    Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

    .
  • Government of Misiones: cities of San Ignacio
    San Ignacio Miní
    San Ignacio Miní was one of the many missions founded in 1632 by the Jesuits in the Americas during the Spanish colonial period near present-day San Ignacio valley, some 60km north of Posadas, Misiones Province, Argentina....

    , Yapeyú
    Yapeyú, Corrientes
    Yapeyú is a town in the province of Corrientes, Argentina, in the San Martín Department. It has about 2,000 inhabitants as per the , and it is known throughout the country because it was the birthplace of General José de San Martín , hero of the War of Independence.-Etymology:The word Yapeyú comes...

     and Candelaria.
  • Intendency of Paraguay: city of Asunción
    Asunción
    Asunción is the capital and largest city of Paraguay.The "Ciudad de Asunción" is an autonomous capital district not part of any department. The metropolitan area, called Gran Asunción, includes the cities of San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora, Lambaré, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Ñemby, San...

  • Intendency of Córdoba: cities of Rio Cuarto
    Río Cuarto, Córdoba
    -References:* - Official website....

    , Córdoba
    Córdoba, Argentina
    Córdoba is a city located near the geographical center of Argentina, in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas on the Suquía River, about northwest of Buenos Aires. It is the capital of Córdoba Province. Córdoba is the second-largest city in Argentina after the federal capital Buenos Aires, with...

    , La Rioja
    La Rioja, Argentina
    La Rioja is the capital city of the Argentine province of La Rioja, located on the east of the province. The city has a population of almost 150,000 as per the ....

    , San Juan
    San Juan, Argentina
    San Juan is the capital city of the Argentine province of San Juan in the Cuyo region, located in the Tulúm Valley, west of the San Juan River, at above mean sea level, with a population of around 112,000 as per the ....

    , Mendoza
    Mendoza, Argentina
    Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza Province, in Argentina. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes. As of the , Mendoza's population was 110,993...

    , and San Luis
    San Luis, Argentina
    -External links:* * *...

  • Intendency of Salta: cities of Catamarca
    San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca
    San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca is a city in northwestern Argentina and capital of Catamarca Province, on the Río Valle River, at the feet of the Cerro Ambato....

    , Santiago del Estero
    Santiago del Estero
    Santiago del Estero is the capital of Santiago del Estero Province in northern Argentina. It has a population of 244,733 inhabitants, making it the twelfth largest city in the country, with a surface area of 2,116 km². It lies on the Dulce River and on National Route 9, at a distance of...

    , Tucumán, Salta
    Salta
    Salta is a city in northwestern Argentina and the capital city of the Salta Province. Along with its metropolitan area, it has a population of 464,678 inhabitants as of the , making it Argentina's eighth largest city.-Overview:...

    , and Jujuy
    San Salvador de Jujuy
    San Salvador de Jujuy , commonly known as Jujuy and locally often referred to as San Salvador, is the capital city of Jujuy Province in northwest Argentina. It lies near the southern end of the Humahuaca Canyon where wooded hills meet the lowlands....

  • Government of Chiquitos
  • Intendency of Potosí: cities of Potosí
    Potosí
    Potosí is a city and the capital of the department of Potosí in Bolivia. It is one of the highest cities in the world by elevation at a nominal . and it was the location of the Spanish colonial mint, now the National Mint of Bolivia...

     and Oruro
    Oruro, Bolivia
    Oruro is a city in Bolivia with a population of 235,393 , located about equidistant between La Paz and Sucre at approximately 3710 meters above sea level. It is the capital of the department of Oruro....

    .
  • Intendency of La Paz: city of La Paz.
  • Intendency of Cochabamba: cities of Cochabamba
    Cochabamba
    Cochabamba is a city in central Bolivia, located in a valley bearing the same name in the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cochabamba Department and is the fourth largest city in Bolivia with an urban population of 608,276 and a metropolitan population of more than 1,000,000 people...

     and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
  • Intendency of Charcas: city of Charcas (modern Sucre
    Sucre
    Sucre, also known historically as Charcas, La Plata and Chuquisaca is the constitutional capital of Bolivia and the capital of the department of Chuquisaca. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2750m...

    ).
  • Government of Moxos
¹ Intendencia in Spanish.
² Gobernación in Spanish.

List of viceroys


The King of Spain designated viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

s to govern in his name. In the beginning their terms had no fixed duration
Term of office
Term of office or term in office refers to the length of time a person serves in a particular office.-Prime Minister:In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister has no term limits...

 and may last for life, but afterwards they were shortened to periods of 3 to 5 years. Because of the distances between Spain and America, and the means of transport available in that age, there were long delays between the designation of a viceroy and the viceroy's effectively taking power.
#Pedro Antonio de Cevallos
Pedro Antonio de Cevallos
Pedro Antonio de Cevallos Cortés y Calderón, also spelled Ceballos , was a Spanish military, Governor of Buenos Aires between 1757 and 1766, and the first Viceroy of the Río de la Plata in 1776....

15 October 1777 – 26 June 1778
1 August 1776
Designated by Charles III of Spain
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

2 Juan José de Vértiz y Salcedo
Juan José de Vértiz y Salcedo
Juan José de Vértiz y Salcedo was a Spanish colonial politician born in New Spain, and Viceroy of the Río de la Plata.-Biography:...

 
26 June 1778 – 7 March 1784
27 October 1777
Designated by Charles III of Spain
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

; resigned
3 Nicolás del Campo
Nicolás del Campo
Nicolás Francisco Cristóbal del Campo, Marquis of Loreto was a Spanish politician and soldier who occupied several posts in the Spanish American colonies, mainly in the River Plate area.-Biography:...

 
7 March 1784 – 4 December 1789
13 August 1783
Designated by Charles III of Spain
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

4 Nicolás Antonio de Arredondo
Nicolás Antonio de Arredondo
Nicolás Antonio de Arredondo was a Spanish soldier and politician born in Madrid. He worked as viceroy of the Río de la Plata.-Career:...

 
4 December 1789 – 16 March 1795
21 March 1789
Designated by Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.-Early life:...

, resigned
5 Pedro de Melo
Pedro de Melo
Pedro de Melo de Portugal y Vilhena was a Spanish soldier and politician, who sered as viceroy in the Rio de la Plata-Biography:...

 
16 March 1795 – 15 April 1797
5 February 1794
Designated by Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.-Early life:...

, died in office
- Real Audiencia of Buenos Aires
Real Audiencia of Buenos Aires
The Real Audiencia de Buenos Aires, were two audiencias, or highest courts, of the Spanish crown, which resided in Buenos Aires. The authority of the first extended to the territory of the Governorate of the Río de la Plata and operated from 1661 to 1671...

15 April 1797 – 2 May 1797
Interim government until the arrival of a new viceroy
6 Antonio de Olaguer y Feliú
Antonio de Olaguer y Feliú
Antonio de Olaguer y Feliú was a Spanish soldier and politician who spent most of his career in South America.Born in Villafranca del Bierzo, León, Olaguer was sent to Buenos Aires as a military specialist during the governorship of Pedro de Cevallos. He took part in the siege of Colonia del...

 
2 May 1797 – 14 March 1799
Interim viceroy
7 Gabriel de Avilés,
2nd Marquis of Avilés 
14 March 1799 – 20 May 1801
25 October 1797
8 Joaquín del Pino y Rozas
Joaquín del Pino
Joaquín del Pino Sánchez de Rojas Romero y Negrete , was a Spanish military engineer and politician, who held various positions in the South American colonial administration.-Early life:...

 
20 May 1801 – 11 April 1804
14 July 1800
Designated by Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.-Early life:...

, died in office
9 Rafael de Sobremonte
Rafael de Sobremonte
Don Rafael de Sobremonte y Núñez del Castillo, 3rd Marquis of Sobremonte , third Marquis of Sobremonte, was an aristocrat, military man and Spanish colonial administrator, and Viceroy of the Río de la Plata...

 
24 April 1804 – 10 February 1807
10 November 1804
During the British invasions of the Río de la Plata
British invasions of the Río de la Plata
The British invasions of the Río de la Plata were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of the Spanish colonies located around the La Plata Basin in South America . The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of...

 Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 and Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 fell under British authority for brief periods of time. Sobremonte was forced in 14 Aug 1806 by an open cabildo to move to Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

, delegating in Santiago de Liniers
Santiago de Liniers
Jacques de Liniers was a French officer in the Spanish military service, and a viceroy of the Spanish colonies of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. He is more widely known by the Spanish form of his name, Santiago de Liniers...

 the military authority and in the Audience the other areas of government. He was removed completely as viceroy by a martial court, with Liniers elected as interim viceroy.
10 Santiago de Liniers
Santiago de Liniers
Jacques de Liniers was a French officer in the Spanish military service, and a viceroy of the Spanish colonies of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. He is more widely known by the Spanish form of his name, Santiago de Liniers...

 
10 February 1807 – 30 June 1809
Interim viceroy, confirmed in office by Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.-Early life:...

, replaced by the Junta of Seville.
11 Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros
Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros
Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros de la Torre was a Spanish naval officer born in Cartagena. He took part in the Battle of Cape St Vincent and the Battle of Trafalgar, and in the Spanish resistance against Napoleon's invasion in 1808. He was later appointed Viceroy of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la...

 
15 Jul 1809 – 25 May 1810
11 February 1809
Designated by the Junta of Seville, ousted from office by the May Revolution
May Revolution
The May Revolution was a week-long series of events that took place from May 18 to 25, 1810, in Buenos Aires, capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish colony that included roughly the territories of present-day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay...

, replaced by the Primera Junta
Primera Junta
The Primera Junta or First Assembly is the most common name given to the first independent government of Argentina. It was created on 25 May 1810, as a result of the events of the May Revolution. The Junta initially had representatives from only Buenos Aires...

.
12 Francisco Javier de Elío
Francisco Javier de Elío
Francisco Javier de Elío , was a Spanish military, governor of Montevideo and the last Viceroy of the Río de la Plata. He was also instrumental in the Absolutist repression after the restoration of Ferdinand VII as King of Spain...

 
19 January 1811 – January 1812
31 August 1810
Self-proclaimed viceroy after the May Revolution
May Revolution
The May Revolution was a week-long series of events that took place from May 18 to 25, 1810, in Buenos Aires, capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish colony that included roughly the territories of present-day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay...

, confirmed as such by the Junta of Cadiz, which also declared Montevideo the new capital and Buenos Aires a rebel city.

See also


  • List of Governors in the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
  • May Revolution
    May Revolution
    The May Revolution was a week-long series of events that took place from May 18 to 25, 1810, in Buenos Aires, capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish colony that included roughly the territories of present-day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay...

  • United Provinces of South America
    United Provinces of South America
    The United Provinces of South America was the original name of the state that emerged from the May Revolution and the early developments of the Argentine War of Independence...

  • History of Argentina
    History of Argentina
    The history of Argentina is divided by historians into four main parts: the pre-Columbian time, or early history , the colonial period , the independence wars and the early post-colonial period of the nation and the history of modern Argentina .The beginning of prehistory in the present territory of...

  • History of Paraguay
    History of Paraguay
    The history of Paraguay is poorly documented, as almost no archaeological research has been done and little is known of Paraguay's pre-Columbian history. What is certain is that the eastern part of the country was occupied by Guaraní peoples for at least 1,000 years before the Spanish colonization...