The British invasions of 1806-1807

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The British invasions of 1806-1807

Post by GodDictatorLapland on Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:21 am

One of the first topics on Argentine History are the British Invasions of the Rio de La Plata on 1806 and 1807, but how and why did they happen.


 To understand the why, we must go back to 1806 Europe. Napoleon had dominance over most of the continent, and the United Kingdom had to search for markets outsside of Europe. Their main target were the Spanish colonies, as Spain was allied to Napoleon. First they tried to help Francisco Miranda to turn Venezuela into an independent nation and a British ally, but as the revolution there failed, Miranda suggested them to take Buenos Aires and told them they would not find any resistance by the local population.

 So in June 1806, a british expedition left London under the command of William Carr Beresford. The expedition was seen by Santiago de Liniers on June 24th near the coast of Buenos Aires. The British army landed the next day on Quilmes and marched straight to Buenos Aires. When they arrived, the city surrendered, as the Viceroy Sobremonte had already fled with the city's wealth. Sobremonte was captured while he was on the way to Cordoba, near the town of Luján and the wealth was divided between Beresford and Home Riggs Pophman, his second in command.

 Beresford decreed that the city was under British rule, and invited many of the wealthy citizens to swear loyalty to the british crown. Beresford sent a letter to Miranda telling him the operation was a success. Miranda adviced him to be careful, but Beresford told him not to worry as he believed they would find no resistance. But part of the local popultaion was not happy with changing overlord and organized a resistance near the city, led by Martín de Álzaga who started the training of militias in his country house. Another resistance was found in Colon by Santiago de Liniers, who gathered officers, soldiers and militians to prepare an attack against the British.

 On August 12th, Liniers crossed to San Isidro and joined forces whith Álzaga and Juan Martín de Puyrredón before striking the city. The army was joined by many volunteers and retired soldiers on the way to Buenos Aires. They stormed the city and forced the British garrison to surrender, after loosing 300 men.

 The Cabildo gave Liniers the title of Military Commander, overdoing the authority of the Viceroy and the King. Liniers, Puyrredón and Álzaga organized the militias, dividing them between the Patricios (The regiments from the city) the Arribeños (From the interior) and the spaniards, divided between their origin (cantabrians, galicians, basques) Liniers and Álzaga also mediated the libertion of Beresford in exchange of British support in case of independence and to not invade them, Beresford agreed and were evacuated on August 14th.

 But the British government had already planned another expedition, this time under the command of John Whitelocke. This new expedition arrived on June 1807 on two different points. The main army landed on Ensenada and from there to Buenos Aires, while the second army, led by Samuel Auchmuty landed on Montevideo and took the Uruguayan coast of the river. When Whitelocke entered the city, he found barricades blocking the streets. while the army was marching towards the city centre, they received constant harssement by the civilians, who attacked them with stones, firearms and boiling water. Near the city centre, the army was attacked by Liniers and Puyrredón and Whitelocke was forced to surrender. He left to London on July 12th. The Uruguay campaign also ended in failure, beeing forced to leave Montevideo on September.


If enough people like this, I might do a whole series of Argentine history
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