Pedro Juan Caballero (politician)

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Pedro Juan Caballero

Pedro Juan Caballero (Spanish pronunciation:  [ˈpeðɾo ˈxwaŋ kaβaˈʎeɾo] ; 1786–1821) was a leading figure of Paraguayan independence. He was born in Tobatí, a town located Cordillera Department of Paraguay which was then part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. He was one of the major leaders of the Revolution of May 14, 1811, despite being six years younger than the leading figure of Independence period Fulgencio Yegros and 20 years younger than the future dictator of Paraguay José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia. In 1820 he was accused of being involved in the conspiracy against Francia, and committed suicide in his cell on July 13, 1821. The Paraguayan city of Pedro Juan Caballero is named after him.

Independence of Paraguay

Independence of Paraguayde facto started on May 14 of 1811 after the Revolution of May 14 when a local ruling junta was created. In early 1811 Paraguayan forces had repeatedly defeated the Argentinian army which considered Paraguay to be a break-away province. On October 12, 1813 the Paraguayan Republic was proclaimed. Officially Independence was proclaimed only on November 25, 1842. Paraguayan independence was assured only after the Paraguayan War, when the Empire of Brazil resisted Argentine offers to divide and annex the country.

Tobatí is a city in Tobatí District in the Cordillera Department, Paraguay. The population of the city is 9,688.

Cordillera Department Department in Paraguay

Cordillera is a department in Paraguay. The capital is the city of Caacupé.


War of 1811

Caballero participated in the Battle of Tacuarí and Battle of Paraguari against the army led by Manuel Belgrano. Paraguayan victory at the January 19, 1811 Battle of Paraguari forced Belgrano to retreat southward. On March 9, 1811, on the banks of River Tacuarí, while Belgrano awaited reinforcements from Buenos Aires, another battle was launched and won by Paraguayans. Belgrano called for capitulation, which was granted, and his troops left Province of Paraguay.

The Battle of Tacuarí was a battle in Southern Paraguay between revolutionary forces under the command of General Manuel Belgrano, member of the Primera Junta government of Argentina, and Paraguayan troops under colonel Manuel Atanasio Cabañas, at the time at the service of the royalists.

Manuel Belgrano Argentine politician and military leader

Manuel José Joaquín del Corazón de Jesús Belgrano y González, usually referred to as Manuel Belgrano, was an Argentine economist, lawyer, politician, and military leader. He took part in the Argentine Wars of Independence and created the Flag of Argentina. He is regarded as one of the main Libertadores of the country.

Buenos Aires Place in Argentina

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the South American continent's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be translated as "fair winds" or "good airs", but the former was the meaning intended by the founders in the 16th century, by the use of the original name "Real de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre". The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of around 15.6 million.

May 14 Revolution

Military victories against the troops sent by the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata increased Paraguayan determination to create and safeguard their own state. Worried by the rumors that the last Spanish governor Velasco is about to ask for military protection from the Portuguese Brazil, local patriots started plotting against him. Initially they were planning to take action on May 25, a one-year anniversary of the May Revolution, but on Francia's advice decided to act sooner, without waiting for the arrival of troops led by Fulgencio Yegros.

United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata republic in South America between 1810-1831

The United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, earlier known as the United Provinces of South America, a union of provinces in the Río de la Plata region of South America, emerged from the May Revolution in 1810 and the Argentine War of Independence of 1810–1818. It comprised most of the former Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata dependencies and had Buenos Aires as its capital.

May Revolution 1810 revolution in Buenos Aires

The May Revolution was a week-long series of events that took place from May 18 to 25, 1810, in Buenos Aires, capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. This Spanish colony included roughly the territories of present-day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and parts of Brazil. The result was the removal of Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros and the establishment of a local government, the Primera Junta, on May 25. It was the first successful revolution in the South American Independence process.

Fulgencio Yegros President of Paraguay

Fulgencio Yegros y Franco de Torres was Paraguayan soldier and first head of state of independent Paraguay. The town of Yegros is named in his honor.

In the evening of May 14, 1811, after the curfew had started, plotters led by Captain Pedro Juan Caballero went to the Governor's quarters located on the main square of Asuncion, where they were greeted by second lieutenant Mauricio Jose Troche, a supporter of plot, was on duty and in charge of the small garrison of 34 men from Curuguaty.

Curuguaty City & District in Canindeyú, Paraguay

Curuguaty is a city and a district in the Canindeyú Department of Paraguay, that was the 4th and last capital of Paraguay during the Paraguayan War in 1869-1870.

Governor's quarters became the center of the revolution; political prisoners were released, weapons prepared, security measures taken and emissaries sent to bring Fulgencio Yegros and Manuel Atanasio Cabañas to Asuncion. The Cathedral bells were rung and resonated throughout the city.

At midnight Vicente Ignacio Iturbe presented Governor Velasco with demands from plotters led by Caballero, which could be summarized as follows:

As Governor Bernardo de Velasco was reluctant to accept the conditions presented by plotters, additional revolutionary troops came to the square and settled eight cannons in front of the house of government; Vicente Ignacio Iturbe brought a new ultimatum, setting a short deadline for response. Governor Velasco was against any bloodshed, and came to the door to say: "If this is because of authority, I give up the command baton." This announcement was met with joy by the crowd. The flag was raised and 21 cannonballs fired.

On May 17 a public proclamation informed people that a ruling junta, consisting of Governor Velasco, Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia and Army captain Juan Valeriano de Zeballos has been created.

Junta Superior Gubernativa

The new junta quickly convened a National Congress on June 17, 1811, which removed Velasco from all power and created a new five-man Junta Superior Gubernativa to which Caballero was appointed. Other members were Fulgencio Yegros as President, José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, Francisco Xavier Bogarin, and Fernando de la Mora.

Junta's achievements:

The Congress of October 1813 disbanded the five-man junta and created a two-man Consulate. Caballero was a strong candidate for consulship, but in the end the more politically powerful Fulgencio Yegros and Francia were elected to be consuls.

Caballero, who was involved in the profitable yerba mate trade, was opposed to Francia's economic policies and together with Juan Manuel Gamarra and Jose Teodoro Fernandez created opposition group which unsuccessfully tried to get support of the Consul Fulgencio Yegros. He refused and together with Consul Francia on September 26, 1814 ordered Caballero's group to leave Asuncion and retire to their country estates. Just eight days later National Congress convened and elected Francia to be the Supreme dictator for a period of five years. During the next years Caballero did not participate in politics and turned his attention to yerba mate trade.

The plot of 1820

Since 1814 José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia ruled alone as the Supreme dictator and in 1816 was elected by Congress to be Dictator for life. A conspiracy, which involved many leading men of the Independence era, to overthrow Francia, was planned for the last days of the Holy Week of 1820. Francia learned about the plot from two slaves that denounced their master for making gunpowder and from a confession of a conspirator to his priest on Holy Week and arrests started. All the heroes of Independence were arrested, even those who had voluntarily renounced any political activity, such as Fulgencio Yegros. Dr. Francia was relentless. Some of the prisoners (64 in ten days) were shot, and a period of persecution and repression began. Historically this is the start of "the Franciato", the period of Francia's absolute dictatorship. Pedro Juan Caballero was arrested six months after the discovery of the plot, and committed suicide in his cell on July 13, 1821 after learning that he was to be executed. He allegedly wrote a note on the wall of his cell: "I know that suicide is against the laws of God and man, but the thirst of the Tyrant of my country shall not be appeased with mine". [1]

See also

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