Abascal y Souza, José Fernando (1743–1821)

views updated

Abascal y Souza, José Fernando (1743–1821)

José Fernando Abascal y Souza (b. 3 June 1743; d. 31 July 1821), viceroy of Peru (1806–1816). A native of Oviedo in northern Spain, Abascal pursued a military career and first visited America in 1767 as a junior officer assigned to the garrison of Puerto Rico. Following service in Spain, he returned to the empire with the 1776 expedition to the Río de la Plata, which captured the outpost of Sacramento on the eastern bank of the river from the Portuguese and established a new viceroyalty governed from Buenos Aires. After further service in Santo Domingo and Havana, he went to Guadalajara (Mexico) in 1799 as president of the audiencia (tribunal of justice). Appointed viceroy of the Río de la Plata, Abascal was transferred to Peru before he was able to take up his position in Buenos Aires; wartime complications delayed his arrival in Lima until 1806.

Abascal's fame derives primarily from his firmness in repressing conspiracies against continued Spanish rule in Peru during the period 1809–1810 (at a time when his counterparts in other viceregal capitals were meekly acquiescing to the demands of creole revolutionaries), and in raising expeditionary forces to put down the early independence movements in Chile, Ecuador, and Upper Peru (Bolivia). A firm royalist and absolutist, he obstructed the implementation in Peru of the Spanish Constitution of Cádiz, promulgated in 1812. Although disturbed in 1814–1815 by a serious insurrection in Cuzco, Peru remained a bastion of royalism when Abascal retired to the peninsula in 1816.

See alsoPeru: From Conquest through Independence .


Vicente Rodríguez Casado and Guillermo Lohmann Villena, eds., Memoria de gobierno del virrey Abascal (1947).

Timothy E. Anna, The Fall of the Royal Government in Peru (1979).

Additional Bibliography

Hamnett, Brian. La política contrarevvolucionaria del Virrey Abascal: Peru, 1806–1816. Lima: IEP, 2000.

Peralta Ruiz, Víctor. En defensa de la autoridad: política y cultura bajo el gobierno del virrey Abascal: Perú, 1806–1816. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Instituto de Historia, 2002.

                                           John R. Fisher