Armies, Politics and Revolution

BookArmies, Politics and Revolution

Armies, Politics and Revolution

Chile, 1808–1826

Liverpool Latin American Studies, 13


December 31st, 2014

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This book studies the political role of the Chilean military during the years 1808-1826. Beginning with the fall of the Spanish monarchy to Napoleon in 1808 and ending immediately after the last royalist contingents were expelled from the island of Chiloé, it does not seek to give a full picture of the participation of military men on the battlefield but rather to interpret their involvement in local politics. In so doing, this book aims to make a contribution to the understanding of Chile’s revolution of independence, as well as to discuss some of the most recent historiographical contributions on the role of the military in the creation of the Chilean republic. Although the focus is placed on the career and participation of Chilean revolutionary officers, this book also provides an overview of both the role of royalist armies and the influence of international events in Chile.

'This book takes a fresh look at Chilean independence, focused on war and the rise of military leadership. Based on extensive research in primary sources and entering into debate with recent historiography, it makes a valuable contribution to the literature on war and politics in the age of Latin American independence.'
Anthony McFarlane, University of Warwick

'Armies, Politics, and Revolution: Chile, 1808-1826 can be regarded as a significant contribution to the collection of books relating to Independence, especially with regard to the study of civil-military relations, to the the social impact of war and the politicization of the army at the construction stage in the framework of a welcome turn to a political and army.'
Gabriel Cid, Universidad Diego Portales

'In Armies, Politics, and Revolution, Juan Luis Ossa Santa Cruz examines the impact warfare had on political modernity in Chile between 1808 and 1826.Ossa Santa Cruz argues “that the revolutionary war was a prolonged experience that—for good or bad—had permanent effects on Chilean society” (5). The book describes in detail the different armies in wars that led to Chilean independence. It analyzes both royal forces and the Army of the Andes, which finally won the war and established—in the words of Ossa Santa Cruz—a military regime in Chile.'
Ulrich Mücke, Latin American Research Review

Author Information

Juan Luis Ossa Santa Cruz is Executive Director of the Centro de Estudios de Historia Política at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Santiago, Chile.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
I. Armies18
II. Politics21
III. Revolution26
IV. A note on sources and terminology28
I. Building up a revolutionary army in Chile, 1808–181431
I. 1808–1810: internal responses to imperial crisis32
II. A conflict of politics, a conflict between provinces40
III. Revolutionary warfare in Chile47
IV. The political legitimization of a revolutionary movement56
II. Political and military counterrevolution in Chile, 1814–181766
I. Rancagua: a revolutionary battle or a historiographical disaster?67
II. Mariano Osorio’s political and military conduct71
III. Francisco Marcó del Pont: facing an external threat81
IV. Was it possible to re-conquer Chile?93
III. The Army of the Andes: Chilean and rioplatense politics in an age of military organization98
I. Chilean émigrés in a foreign territory100
II. The Army of the Andes and the militarization of civil society105
III. Chileans in the Army of the Andes: Spies, military intelligence and the guerra de zapa112
IV. Crossing the Cordillera118
IV. The establishment of a military regime in Chile, 1817–1823127
I. Ruling over an unruly population128
II. Maipú: battle for territorial dominance139
III. Irregular warfare in the south of Chile145
IV. The personalization of politics153
V. Becoming a Chilean army: The Ejército Libertador del Perú, 1818–1823164
I. The organization of the Ejército Libertador del Perú and the first Chilean navy165
II. Lima: royalist stronghold176
III. Internal conflicts, external consequences182
IV. Becoming a Chilean army189
VI. The political role of the military in the making of the Chilean republic, 1822–1826198
I. The revival of Concepción and the Army of the South199
II. The political role of the military in the 1820s: the case of Francisco Antonio Pinto208
III. Politicizing the army in the Chilean Congress220
IV. Chiloé: the end of revolutionary warfare229