Cornelio Saavedra

Cornelio Saavedra

Cornelio Judas Tadeo de Saavedra y Rodríguez (September 15, 1759 in Otuyo – March 29, 1829 in Buenos Aires) was a military officer and statesman from the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. He was instrumental in the May Revolution, the first step of Argentina's independence from Spain, and was appointed president of the Primera Junta.

Saavedra was the first commanding officer of the Regiment of Patricians created after the ill-fated British invasions of the Río de la Plata. The increased militarization of the city and the relaxation of the system of castas allowed him, as other criollo peoples, to become a prominent figure in local politics. His intervention was decisive to thwart the Mutiny of Álzaga and allow Viceroy Santiago de Liniers to stay in power. Although he supported the establishment of a government Junta, as others created in Spain during the contemporary Peninsular War, he desired that criollos had an important role in it (the mutiny of Álzaga was promoted by peninsulars). He advised against rushed actions as well, and as his Regiment was crucial in any action against the viceroy, he denied his help until it was a good strategic moment to do so. The opportunity came in May, 1810, and the May Revolution successfully ousted the viceroy.

Saavedra was appointed president of the Primera Junta, which took government after it. The local politics were soon divided between him and the secretary Mariano Moreno. Saavedra wanted gradual changes, while Moreno promoted more radical ones. Saavedra encouraged the expansion of the Junta with deputies from the other provinces; this left Moreno in a minority, and he resigned. A later rebellion made in behalf of Saavedra forced the remaining supporters of Moreno to resign as well. He left the presidency after the defeat of the first Upper Peru campaign, and headed to lead the Army of the North. His absence was exploited by political opponents, who established the First Triumvirate and issued an arrest warrant against Saavedra. Saavedra stayed in exile until 1815, when all the charges against him were dropped.

Read more about Cornelio Saavedra:  Legacy, Bibliography

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