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Antonio José de Sucre
2nd President of Bolivia

In office
29 December 1825 – 18 April 1828
Preceded by Simón Bolívar
Succeeded by José María Pérez de Urdininea
6th President of Perú

In office
23 June 1823 – 17 July 1823
Preceded by José de la Riva Agüero
Succeeded by José Bernardo de Tagle
Personal details
Born (1795-02-03)February 3, 1795
Cumaná, Viceroyalty of New Granada (in present-day Venezuela)
Died June 4, 1830(1830-06-04) (aged 35)
Pasto, Republic of New Granada (in present-day Colombia)
Resting place Cathedral of Quito
Spouse(s) Maríana de Carcelén y Larrea, Marquise of Solanda
Children Teresa Sucre y Carcelén
Honorary title Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho
Signature

Antonio José de Sucre y Alcalá (Spanish: [anˈtonjo xoˈse ðe ˈsukɾe j alkaˈla]; 1795–1830), known as the "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho" (English: "Grand Marshal of Ayacucho"), was a Venezuelan independence leader. Sucre was one of Simón Bolívar's closest friends, generals and statesmen.

Biography[]

Family[]

The aristocratic Sucre family can trace its roots back to origins in Flanders. It arrived in Venezuela through Charles de Sucre y Pardo, a Flemish nobleman, son of Charles Adrian de Sucre, Marquess of Preu and Buenaventura Carolina Isabel Garrido y Pardo, a Spanish noblewoman. Charles de Sucre y Pardo served as a soldier in Catalonia in 1698 and was later named Governor of Cartagena de Indias and Captain General of Cuba. On December 22, 1779, Charles Sucre y Pardo arrived in Cumaná, Venezuela, having been named Governor of New Andalucia, present-day Sucre state.

Military career[]

In 1814, Antonio José de Sucre joined the battles for South American independence from Spain. The Battle of Pichincha took place on May 24, 1822, on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano, 3,500 meters above sea level, right next to the city of Quito in what is now Ecuador. The encounter, fought in the context of the Spanish American wars of independence, pitted a Patriot army under Sucre against a Royalist army commanded by Field Marshal Melchor Aymerich. The defeat of the Royalist forces brought about the liberation of Quito and secured the independence of the provinces belonging to the Real Audiencia de Quito, or Presidencia de Quito, the Spanish colonial administrative jurisdiction from which the Republic of Ecuador would eventually emerge. In the Battle of Tarqui, fought on February 27, 1829, heavily outnumbered two to one, Antonio José de Sucre defeated a Peruvian invasion force led by third President and General of Peru José de La Mar, whose intentions had been to annex Guayaquil and the rest of Ecuador to Peru.

Post-independence[]

When a strong movement arose against Bolívar, his followers, and the Bolivian constitution in 1828, Sucre resigned.

Assassination of Sucre at Berruecos[]

Sucre was killed on June 4, 1830.[1] General Juan José Flores wanted to separate the southern departments (Quito, Guayaquil, and Azuay), called the District of Ecuador, from the Gran Colombia so as to form an independent country and become its first President. General Flores foresaw that if Antonio José de Sucre arrived in Quito from Bogota, he could thwart his plans, since Sucre was very popular due to his reputation as hero and leader in the Battles of Pichincha, Tarqui and Ayacucho. General Juan José Flores put himself in contact with the anti-Bolívar and anti-Sucre leader Brigadier-General and the Commanding General of Cauca, José María Obando, who was not present at Sucre's death but who delegated this criminal act to the Venezuelan Colonel Apolinar Morillo. Commander Juan Gregorio Sarria (who later confessed he had been paid by Obando), José Erazo (a highway bandit and guerrilla fighter), and his[Clarification needed] three peons were accomplices. The plan was to ambush José Antonio de Sucre on the morning of June 4, 1830, in the cold and bleak forested district of Berruecos, along a narrow path that was perennially covered with fog. The five assassins were hiding behind trees along the part of the trail known as La Jacoba waiting for Sucre's party, which would be passing the area single file. Sucre's retinue comprised seven persons: two muleteers with the baggage, two sergeants, one being the Marshal's orderly, a representative to the Congress from Cuenca, and his[Clarification needed] servant, and finally Sucre himself. When Sucre approached La Jacoba, he was struck by three bullets, two inflicting superficial wounds to his head and one piercing his heart. He fell from his mule, which had been shot in the neck, and died almost instantly. His body remained there for twenty-four hours, as his companions, fearful of a similar fate, had fled in panic. Later, Juan Gregorio Sarria and Colonel Apolinar Morillo confessed that it was Obando who had convinced them to assassinate Sucre. Commander Juan Gregorio Sarria also confessed that Obando had paid him to kill Sucre, since there were anti-Bolivar politicians and officers in Bogota that wanted to see both Bolívar and Sucre eliminated. The ringleader of the anti-Bolívar faction in Bogota was Santander, who was Obando's friend and who had failed in his attempt to assassinate Bolivar. The three peons who were part of the Sucre assassination party were poisoned by Apolinar Morillo to prevent them from testifying about Sucre's murder. In the end, Colonel Apolinar Morillo was convicted and shot in the main square of Bogota for the murder of Sucre on November 30, 1842, and José Erazo died in prison that same year. José Maria Obando should have met the same fate[Clarification needed] but was granted immunity due to the fact that he was too powerful in the Department of Cauca. Francisco de Paula Santander, although indirectly involved with Sucre's death, was directly involved with Bolívar's attempted assassination and was exiled.

Death of Antonio José de Sucre by Arturo Michelena.

Burial and Aftermath[]

Monument to Antonio José de Sucre in the constitutional capital of Bolivia, Sucre

The following day Sucre's orderly, a sergeant named Lorenzo Caicedo, with some help from others, buried the body and marked the makeshift grave with a cross formed of branches. When the widow received news of the assassination, she promptly brought Sucre's remains from Berruecos to Quito, where they were interred in secret in the oratory of the chapel of "El Dean" on one of her haciendas. Subsequently, she had the remains transferred, also in secret, to the Carmen Bajo Convent in Quito, where they were placed facing the main altar of the church. Seventy years later, in April 1900, Sucre's remains were discovered and, their authenticity scrupulously verified, transferred to the Quito Cathedral on June 4, 1900, in a sumptuous parade led by the Executive and his Ministers, the high dignitaries of the Church, and the diplomatic corps. At the time, the government ordered the building of a crypt, but it was not inaugurated until thirty-two years later, on August 4, 1932. This mausoleum consisted of a nine-ton monolith of granite from the quarries of the Pichincha volcano. Its cover, on which a cross is carved in high relief, was so heavy that thirty persons were required to move it into place.

According to the December 19, 1830 Gaceta de Colombia, Issue No. 495, a power-hungry, ambitious General Obando paid an assassin to kill Sucre by falsely informing the assassin that Sucre was a traitor and had to be stopped because Sucre's intentions were to go to Quito and separate the Department of Cauca and the three southern departments of Colombia and unite them with Peru. In reality, Sucre, a protégé of Bolívar, was going to Quito to stop the separation of the District of Ecuador from the Gran Colombia and to retire as soon as possible in Quito to live a quiet life with his wife. Some have argued that Sucre was ordered assassinated by General Obando so as to leave no clear successor to Bolívar in the Gran Colombia. Before his death, Bolívar believed Sucre to be the only man who could have reunited the Gran Colombia; however, Bolívar's generals and the majority of the politicians running the separate departments of the Gran Colombia had other selfish and ambitious plans. Sucre represented, according to historian Tomás Polanco Alcántara, "the indispensable complement to Simón Bolívar". Upon hearing the news of Sucre's death, Bolívar said, "Se ha derreamado, Dios excelso, la sangre del inocente Abel..." ("The blood of the innocent Abel has been spilled, God almighty..."). Bolívar later wrote (Gaceta de Colombia, July 4, 1830):

If he had breathed his spirit upon the theater of victory, with his last breath he would have given thanks to heaven for having given him a glorious death; but cowardly murdered in a dark mountain, he leaves his fatherland the duty of prosecuting this crime and of adopting measures that will curb new scandals and the repetition of scenes as lamentable and painful as this.

Sucre is buried in the Cathedral of Quito, Ecuador, as he had said, "I want my bones to be forever in Quito", where his wife, Mariana de Carcelén y Larrea, Marquise of Solanda, was from.

Legacy[]

Some of his descendants in Venezuela, Ecuador, and the U.S. have followed in his military and political footsteps.[citation needed]

Further reading[]

  • Sherwell, Guillermo A. (1924). Antonio José de Sucre (Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho): Hero and Martyr of American Independence. Washington, D.C.: Byron S. Adams. 

References[]

  1. Monroy, Ramón Rocha (June 5, 2009). "Ultimas cartas de Sucre" (in Spanish). Bolpress. http://www.bolpress.com/art.php?Cod=2009060501. 

External links[]

Political offices
Preceded by
Simón Bolívar
President of Bolivia
December 29, 1825 – April 18, 1828
Succeeded by
José María Pérez de Urdininea
Preceded by
José de la Riva Agüero
President of Peru
June 23, 1823 – July 17, 1823
Succeeded by
José Bernardo de Tagle

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