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Republiquetas, partisan enclaves that were formed during the Bolivian War of Independence. The War of Independence in Bolivia (Upper Peru) lasted from 1809 to 1825. Loyalist forces prevailed most of the time; until 1816 the anti-Spanish cause was kept alive mainly in the countryside by partisan forces. Some guerrilla leaders became local caudillos, organizing republiquetas (small republics). Of the six that can be clearly identified, five were named after their leaders: Juan Antonio Alvarez de Arenales, Vicente Carmargo, Ildefonso de las Muñecas (a priest), Manuel Ascencio Padilla, and Ignacio Warnes. The other republiqueta, Ayopaya, was the most enduring, and its leader, José Miguel Lanza, survived and later assumed leadership in the Bolivian army until his death in 1828. Arenales also lived to see independence, eventually becoming governor of Salta, in Argentina. The guerrilla Padilla shared power and combat with his wife, Juana Azurduy, who is a legendary heroine in Bolivia.

Besides the six major republiquetas, others existed intermittently with equally daring but less well-known leaders. The republiquetas lacked coordination and a definite purpose. They did, however, have a common goal—opposition to Spanish rule. Only in 1824 did the concept of an independent Upper Peru (Bolivia) take root with the urban elite, who until then had supported the status quo.

See alsoCaudillismo, Caudillo; Wars of Independence, South America.


Julio Díaz Arguedas, Los generales de Bolivia (1929).

Additional Bibliography

Acosta Rentería, Hilarión. La evolución de Bolivia: Chuquisaca insurgente 25 de Mayo 1809. Sucre, Bolivia: Cotes, 2006.

Gandarilla Guardia, Niño. Libertadores cruceños. Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia: Comité Pro Santa Cruz, 2003.

Ríos de Reyes, Evelyn. Antecedentes de la revolución del 16 de Junio de 1809 en La Paz. La Paz, Bolivia: Plural Editores, 2002.

                                          Charles W. Arnade

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