Santa Cruz, Andrés de (1792–1865)

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Santa Cruz, Andrés de (1792–1865)

Andrés de Santa Cruz (b. 30 November 1792; d. 25 September 1865), president of Peru (1827), president of Bolivia (1829–1836), and president of the Peru-Bolivia Confederation (1836–1839).

A royalist officer who switched to the patriot side in 1820, Santa Cruz distinguished himself in the Wars of Independence and later became one of the longest lasting and most able presidents of Bolivia. His reorganization of governmental institutions on the Napoleonic model provided the basis for republican government for over a century. However, his attempt in 1836 to reunite Peru and Bolivia engendered a Chilean invasion that led to his downfall in 1839.

The son of a minor Spanish colonial official and the wealthy heiress of an Indian chieftainship, Santa Cruz was born in La Paz to wealth and received a good education in Cuzco, though he left school before graduating. He first joined his father's regiment in 1811, and in 1817 fought against the invading Argentine armies. Taken prisoner the same year, Santa Cruz was sent to a prison close to Buenos Aires but managed to escape and return to Peru. Recaptured in 1820, he decided to become a patriot. In 1822, Santa Cruz distinguished himself in the battle of Pichincha, Ecuador, under Antonio José de Sucre, achieving the rank of brigadier general in both the Colombian and Peruvian patriot armies. Despite a victory in Zepita over the Spanish army (for which he was promoted to grand marshal), Santa Cruz was unable to liberate his home territory.

After Peru and Bolivia achieved independence, Santa Cruz briefly became president of Peru in 1827 under the auspices of Simón Bolívar. Voted out in the anti-Bolivarian reactions of 1827, Santa Cruz went to Chile on a diplomatic mission. Wanting to reunite Peru and Bolivia, Santa Cruz was convinced that Antonio José de Sucre should be ousted from the Bolivian presidency because his presence made the reunification impossible. In 1828, in the wake of Agustín Gamarra's invasion of Bolivia, Sucre resigned and Santa Cruz was elected president. He took power in 1829.

Santa Cruz was a mercantilist and favored domestic industries, particularly textiles, over foreign products. Nevertheless, he developed the port of Cobija on the Pacific coast by building a road and providing import tax relief as a way of achieving sovereignty over this sparsely populated desert region.

Santa Cruz also lowered mining taxes, but this action did not stimulate silver mining sufficiently to provide enough government revenues. In 1830 he resorted to minting debased silver currency as a way of covering the fiscal deficit, thereby setting a pattern that would continue into the 1860s and provide a relatively high indirect tariff that protected domestic production from foreign competition.

Recognizing the lack of government revenue and forever a pragmatist, Santa Cruz formally reinstituted the payment of Indian tribute in return for which the state guaranteed the Indians' possession of community lands for ten years. Although this went against the president's otherwise Bolivarian ideas (Bolívar had abolished tribute payments in 1824 and 1825), Santa Cruz recognized the crucial economic role of the Indian communities' economies and the benefits of a regular and substantial income for the fiscally strapped government.

This legislation also provided resources and a stable home base for his other projects, most notably the reunification of Peru and Bolivia. In 1836, Santa Cruz briefly tried to take advantage of the political chaos in Argentina and attempted unsuccessfully to annex Jujuy to Bolivia. More successful, at least temporarily, were Santa Cruz's expansionist plans toward Peru. In 1835 he moved against the divided Peruvian leadership and was able to defeat his rival, Agustín Gamarra, and by 1836 the Peruvian president, Felipe Santiago Salaverry.

Once Santa Cruz had conquered Peru, he reorganized the two states into three units, Northern Peru, Southern Peru, and Bolivia. Each unit elected its own president, and Santa Cruz named himself the confederation's protector. As a result, Santa Cruz dropped his efforts at developing the port of Cobija and encouraged trade between the more easily accessible southern Peruvian ports of Arica and Tacna.

Both Chile and Argentina feared a powerful northern neighbor and did everything in their power to eliminate the confederation. While Argentina was suffering from its own internal problems, Chile actively aided Peruvian dissidents, finally invading the confederation in 1838. In 1839 the Chileans won a major battle outside Lima, and Santa Cruz fled into exile in Ecuador. However, in 1841 pro-Santa Cruz forces overthrew the Bolivian president, General José Miguel de Velasco, precipitating the invasion of Peruvian General Agustín Gamarra. When it became clear that Gamarra intended to annex parts of Bolivia to Peru, Bolivian forces united under the anti-Santa Cruz General José Ballivián and, in the battle of Ingaví in 1841, defeated the Peruvian army and killed the Peruvian leader. As a result, Santa Cruz was prevented from returning to Bolivia. More important, the battle of Ingaví signaled the end of overt Peruvian and Bolivian intervention into each other's affairs and the end of Bolivia's dominance as a regional power. Santa Cruz was exiled for life and died in Nantes, France.

See alsoGamarra, Agustín; Jujuy.


A standard popular biography is Alfonso Crespo Rodas, Santa Cruz, el cóndor indio (1944). The best recent work is Philip Parkerson, Andrés de Santa Cruz y la Confederación Perú-Boliviana 1835–1839 (1984), a Spanish translation of his Ph.D. dissertation, "Sub-Regional Integration in Nineteenth Century South America: Andrés de Santa Cruz and the Peru-Bolivia Confederation, 1835–39" (Univ. of Florida, 1979). A good brief summary of the Santa Cruz period is contained in Herbert S. Klein, Bolivia: The Evolution of a Multi-Ethnic Society (1982), pp. 112-119.

Additional Bibliography

Fajardo Sainz, Humberto. Andrés de Santa Cruz y la Unión Latino Americana. Santa Cruz de la Sierra: H. Fajardo Sainz, 2003.

Guardia, Amelia. El personalismo político de Andrés de Santa Cruz: Un voluntarismo al serivicio de la integración. Caracas: Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Sociales, Universidad Central de Venezuela, 2000.

Martínez Azcui, Hernán. Mariscal Andrés de Santa Cruz: Síntesis biográfica: Homenaje del Comando General del Ejército. La Paz: Editorial El Siglo, 1992.

Saavedra Arce, René. El condor andino: Biografía del mariscal de Zepita, Andrés de Santa Cruz. La Paz: Publicidad e Impresión Génesis, 2003.

                                         Erick D. Langer

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Santa Cruz, Andrés de (1792–1865)

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