The Maitland Plan: Peru never wanted independence

Hispanismo Chile

In 1821, the year of Peru’s independence, practically the whole of Spanish America has been independent for 11 years. All except the Viceroyalty of Peru, which remains loyal to Spain, as there is no emancipation movement and enjoys the highest quality of life in the world.

Lima (founded by the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro as the “City of Kings”), the capital, is one of the world’s largest and most advanced cities. The per capita income of a Peruvian at that time was much higher than that of an American, Englishman, Frenchman or mainland Spaniard. It took a foreigner, San Martin, to proclaim independence. An independence that was forced against the will of the Peruvians.

Why should San Martin, a foreigner, interfere in the decisions of a people that is not his own?

The truth, and contrary to the official history fabricated by the oligarchies, is that San Martin merely carried out the orders dictated by England through the Maitland Plan to destroy the Spanish Empire in America.

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Maitland by John Hoppner.

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Maitland by John Hoppner.

The plan was designed by General Thomas Maitland after England lost its thirteen colonies in North America and needed new territories to supply it with raw materials for its industry as well as other treasures. It literally was:

  1. take Buenos Aires (San Martin did it),
  2. settle in Mendoza (San Martin did it),
  3. cross the Andes and emancipate Chile (San Martin did it),
  4. later, by boat, head for Peru and Quito to liberate them (San Martin also did this).

The myth of San Martin and with him the independence of Spanish America has just fallen. San Martin, who had been a brilliant officer in the Spanish Army, decorated with the highest distinctions for his heroism in the first battle Napoleon lost, Bailén, and had a splendid future ahead of him, became a traitor to Spain and America by becoming a British agent for England’s decades-long plundering of Spanish America.

The liberating fleet that left Valparaíso for Peru was made up of English ships whose names were changed. In order to disguise the operation, the name of its commander, Admiral Lord Thomas Alexander Cochrane, was changed to Tomás Alejandro Cochran. All the British officers who took part in the American campaigns, of whom there were hundreds, had their names Hispanicised.

Portrait of José de San Martín by Daniel Hernandez

Portrait of José de San Martín by Daniel Hernandez

After the proclamation of Peruvian independence on 28 July 1821, the treasury that housed the Royal Treasury of Lima – or, in other words, the Central Bank of Peru – was plundered by San Martín and loaded onto Cochrane’s fleet anchored in the port of El Callao, which was to leave with it for London carrying 40 tons of gold. Such an act was nothing new; the same had happened in Buenos Aires, Bogota, Guatemala and Mexico. All the Royal Haciendas were looted and their treasures sent to London. Thus it was that the rich Viceroyalties and Captaincies General became poor Republics.

England became their new master; yes, she let them have a flag and an anthem, but she imposed the pound sterling as their compulsory currency and took over the monopoly of trade. Neo-colonialism was born.

The proclamation of Peruvian independence imposed by San Martin caused the Peruvian population to revolt and confront his invading army. Peruvian Indians and mestizos enlisted by the thousands in the Royal Armies of Peru, in which brilliant Indian officers such as Colonel Dionisio Inca Yupanqui and General Antonio Navala Huachaca, who would continue to fight for more than 25 years after the proclamation of independence, stood out.

Portrait of Don Dionisio Inca Yupanqui in the Lima Bar Association.

Portrait of Don Dionisio Inca Yupanqui in the Lima Bar Association.

At the Battle of Ayacucho, in which General Navala Huachaca was present, the Royalist Army was made up of some 9,000 men, of whom only about 500 were peninsular Spaniards; 6,000 were Peruvians – mostly Indians and mestizos – and the rest were Indians from Salta and even 3 divisions of soldiers from Chiloé. The Patriot Army, by contrast, was made up of a handful of Peruvian Creoles, Argentines, Chileans, Grancolombians and several thousand European mercenaries paid by England.

Peru was the Iraq of the 19th century. There was no oil, but there was gold and other riches. There were no weapons of mass destruction, but there was a fictitious sense of independence. What did exist, as always, were traitors and profiteers.

Finally, the Viceroyalty of Peru was transformed, with foreign imposition, into the Republic of Peru (1821). There was never a strong independence movement in colonial Peru as there was in other parts of the continent; records indicate that insurrections did occur, but they were minuscule.

Formidable cultures and local empires have arisen in the territory of present-day Peru. This territory has always been ruled in a monarchical manner, with the Incas, before them and with the arrival of the Spaniards. The brilliant history of Peru, pre-Hispanic and colonial, underwent a turning point with the birth of the republic.

Sources

This post was translated from:

(2020) ‘Plan Maitland: Perú nunca se quiso independizar’ Available at: https://hispanismo.cl/publicaciones/plan-maitland-peru-nunca-se-quiso-independizar/ (Accessed: 29 July 2021).

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1511 Royal decree of Fernando, the Catholic King, creating the Audiencia (Court) of Santo Domingo, the first in the New World.
1550 Pedro de Valdivia founds the town of Concepción del Nuevo Extremo (Chile) in the viceroyalty of Peru.
1581 Spaniard Gonzalo Ronquillo founds the town of Iloilo (Philippines).
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1827 Capitulation of the Malcontents thanks to the action of the Count of Spain. On 7 November, the ringleaders Rafi Vidal and Olivas are shot.
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One Comment

  1. EULALIA GERVAS PABON July 30, 2021 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Excelente!

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