La Serna, José de (1770–1832)

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La Serna, José de (1770–1832)

José de La Serna (b. 1770; d. 6 July 1832), last viceroy of Peru and commander of the Spanish forces at the Battle of Ayacucho (1824). A native of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, he was a professional soldier who fought in the defense of Ceuta in 1790, and later against England and France. He was sent to Peru in 1816 as one of the generals under Viceroy Joaquín de la Pezuela. He criticized the latter's decision to hold on to Lima at all costs, and in 1821, following Pezuela's overthrow, he was acclaimed viceroy by his fellow commanders. He negotiated briefly with General José de San Martín, especially over the idea of placing Peru under a crowned head. The negotiations came to naught, and in July 1821, he abandoned Lima and took his army to the highlands, where he established his seat of command in Huancayo and later in Cuzco. On 9 December 1824, on a plain near Ayacucho, he led the last royal army in South America against General Antonio José de Sucre, Simón Bolívar's chief lieutenant. La Serna was defeated, and with that loss Spain's empire in the New World, save its Caribbean possessions, disappeared. La Serna was taken prisoner and returned to Spain, where he received the title Count of the Andes. He subsequently held the post of captain-general of Granada (1831). He died in Seville.

See alsoAyacucho, Battle of; Huancayo.


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

Rubén Vargas Ugarte, Historia general del Perú, vol. 6, Emancipación (1816–1825) (1966).

Additional Bibliography

Fisher, John Robert. Bourbon Peru, 1750–1824. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2003.

Montoya Rivas, Gustavo. La independencia del Perú y el fantasma de la revolución. Lima: Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2002.

                                         Jeffrey Klaiber

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La Serna, José de (1770–1832)

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