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Boves, José Tomás (1782–1814)

Boves, José Tomás (1782–1814)

José Tomás Boves (b. 18 September 1782; d. 5 December 1814), officer in the Spanish army. A native of Spain, Boves received his nautical education in Asturias, obtained his pilot's license in 1803, and joined a mercantile business with interests in Venezuela. He was accused of smuggling, imprisoned in Puerto Cabello, and later confined in the town of Calabozo. When the War of Independence broke out, Boves declared himself to be on the side of emancipation. But he then became suspect when he supported the royalist leader, Domingo Monteverde, and was imprisoned in 1812 at Calabozo. That same year he joined the royalist ranks under the command of Eusebio Antoñanzas, who released him from prison, and was appointed commander in chief of Calabozo.

Boves rapidly attained great popularity among the inhabitants of the plains for his favorable attitude toward sacking and looting. His detailed knowledge of the plains territory brought him numerous victories over republican troops. In testimonies of the time and in the collected writings on Venezuelan independence, Boves stands out for his fierceness and cruelty to those he defeated. He rebelled against his immediate superior and ignored the authority of the royal audiencia. After his death at the battle of Urica, the royalist cause lost popularity among the people of the plains.

See alsoVenezuela: The Colonial Era .


Juan Uslar Pietri, Historia de la Rebelión de 1814 (1954).

Acisclo Valdivieso Montaño, José Tomás Boves, caudillo hispano (1955).

Germán Carrera Damas, Boves: Aspectos socioeconómicos de la independencia, 3d ed. (1972).

Additional Bibliography

Mondolfi, Edgardo. José Tomás Boves: (1782–1814). Caracas: Editora El Nacional, 2005.

Pérez Tenreiro, Tomás. Para acercarnos a don Francisco Tomás Morales, mariscal de campo, último capitán general en Tierra Firme, y a José Tomás Boves, coronel, primera lanza del rey. Caracas: Academia Nacional de la Historia, 1994.

Semprún, José. La división infernal: Boves, vencedor de Bolívar. Madrid: Ediciones Falcata Ibérica 2002.

                                     InÉs Quintero

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