Peru-Bolivia Confederation Essay


Andrés de Santa Cruz was one of the key figures involved in the development of the Andean nation, though he is not acknowledged as one of the founding fathers. His contributions are noted by Perea, who makes an effort to show both the personal and national identity of Santa Cruz.

This paper examines the efforts of Santa Cruz in the realization of the Peru-Bolivia Confederation as put forward by Natalia Sobrevilla Perea in his book The Caudillo of the Andes: Andrés de Santa Cruz.

Rise of Santa Cruz

Born in 1792 to a Spanish military officer and an elite mother, Santa Cruz became the only president born in Bolivia and whose work transcended the boundaries and influenced the development of the South American region.1 Santa Cruz made the decision to join the patriotic arms by entering the army of San Martin in 1821.

He served as the chief of staff where one of his duties was the provision of battle weapons for Pichincha (Ecuador). He was later promoted by Bolivar to general, and commissioned to lead an army to upper Peru. Santa Cruz triumphed in many battles including that of Zepita in 1823, which led to mariscalato.

Following this victory, he was referred to as Marshal Zepita. In 1824, he was a crucial part of the Battle of Junin in his capacity as Chief of Staff. He was later promoted to major general division, a rank of Grand Marshal of Peru.

This honor had not been reached by any other Bolivian. Santa Cruz was elected president of Peru in 1826, and he ruled till 1827, when he left the office and went to Chile as a Minister Plenipotentiary of Bolivia.2

Presidency of Santa Cruz

In 1829, Santa Cruz was elected as the provisional president of Bolivia, where he served in that capacity for ten years, following his constitutional election in 1831 and subsequent re-election in 1835.

During his presidency, Santa Cruz strengthened the army, created the universities of La Paz and Cochabamba, made Lamar port a free zone, and led the integration of Peru and Bolivia in one unit policy.

This integration, which was requested by President Orbegos of North Peru, was aimed at bringing order to the nation through a military campaign that involved a series of victorious battles in Yanacocha, Uchumayo and Socabaya.3

The Peru-Bolivian Confederation

Following the triumph, Santa Cruz created the Peru-Bolivian Confederation in 1836, which served as the supreme protector. This move split Peru into two states: the North, which had its capital in Huaura, and the South, with its capital in Sichuan. Santa Cruz brought together a conference in each state: Huaura Peru in the north, in southern Peru and Bolivia in Tapacarí Sicuani (Cochabamba).

In June 1836 the three conferences adopted the confederate and granted Santa Cruz all the powers to carry out decisions. In 1936, a group of plenipotentiaries criticized the actions of Santa Cruz in the sense of having given greater dominance to the detriment of Bolivia-Peru than when he was President of Peru in 1826.4


The confederation marked the most successful period in the republican history of Bolivia. In his second term of presidency, between 1834 and 1839, Santa Cruz placed homeland armies in the territories of Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Santa Cruz failed to return to presidency after he lost the battle of Yungay to the Chileans in 1839, after which he was delivered to Chile as a prisoner of war, and was later exiled. Santa Cruz died in 1865.5


Perea, Natalia Sobrevilla. 2011. The Caudillo of the Andes: Andrés de Santa Cruz. New York: Cambridge University Press.


1 Natalia Sobrevilla Perea. 2011. The Caudillo of the Andes: Andrés de Santa Cruz. New York: Cambridge University Press, 158.

2 Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, 160.

3 Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, 161

4 Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, 165.

5 Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, 173.

Peru-Bolivia Confederation

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