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May revolution
Open cabildo of May 22
The open cabildo on May 22, 1810, by Pedro Subercaseaux
Other names Revolución de Mayo
Participants Criollo people
Location Buenos Aires
Date May 25, 1810
Result Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros is deposed and the Primera Junta assumes government. Other cities in the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata are torn between joining the revolution or standing against it.

The May Revolution (Spanish: Revolución de Mayo) was a week-long series of revolutionary events that took place from May 18 to 25, 1810, in Buenos Aires, capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a colony of the Spanish Crown, which contained the present-day nations of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. These events are commemorated in Argentina as "May Week" (Spanish: Semana de Mayo). The consequences of the events were that the viceroy, Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros, was ousted from office and a local government, Primera Junta, was instituted on May 25. The May Revolution is considered the starting point of the Argentine War of Independence, although no formal declaration of independence was issued at the time, and in fact the Junta governed in the name of the Spanish king. Similar events occurred in other cities of Spanish South America as news of the dissolution of the Spanish Supreme Junta arrived, and so the May Revolution is also considered one of the starting points of the Spanish American wars of independence.

The May Revolution was a direct reaction to developments in Spain during the previous two years. In 1808 the Spanish king, Ferdinand VII had been convinced to abdicate by Napoleon in his favor, who granted the throne to his brother, Joseph Bonaparte. A Supreme Central Junta had lead a resistance to Joseph's government and the French occupation of Spain, but suffered a series of reverses resulting in the loss of the northern half of the country. On February 1, 1810, French troops took Seville and gained control of most of Andalusia. The Supreme Junta retreated to Cadiz and dissolved itself in favor of a Regency Council of Spain and the Indies. News of this arrived in Buenos Aires in May 18 on British ships bringing newspapers from Spain and the rest of Europe.

Initially Viceroy Cisneros tried to conceal the news in order to maintain the political status quo, but he was unsuccessful. With the news of the turn of events in Spain, a group of Criollo lawyers and military officials organized an open cabildo (an extraordinary meeting of notables of the city) on May 22 to decide the future of the viceroyalty. At the meeting it was decided not to recognize the Council of Regency in Spain, to end Cisneros's mandate as viceroy, since the government that appointed him no longer existed, and to establish a junta in his place. In order to maintain a sense of continuity, Cisneros, himself, was initially appointed as president of the Primera Junta, however, this caused great deal of popular unrest, since it ran counter to the reasons his mandate was ended, and Cisneros resigned on May 25. Subsequently the Primera Junta then invited other cities of the viceroyalty to send delegates to it, resulting in the outbreak of war between regions of the viceroyalty that accepted the Buenos Aires junta and those that did not.

Historians today debate whether the revolutionaries truly were loyal to the deposed Ferdinand VII, or whether the declaration of fidelity to the king was necessary ruse to conceal a true desire for independence from a general population that was not ready to accept such a radical change. A formal declaration was issued at the Congress of Tucumán on July 9, 1816.




International causes

The crowning of Joseph Bonaparte started doubts about the legitimacy of the ruling viceroyalty.

The United States had emancipated themselves from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, which provided a tangible example that led Criollos to believe that revolution and independence from Spain could be realistic aims.[1] In the time between 1775 and 1783 the Thirteen Colonies started the American Revolution, first rejecting the governance of the Parliament of Great Britain, and later the British monarchy itself, and waged the American Revolutionary War against their former rulers. The changes were not just political, but also intellectual and social, combining both a strong government with personal liberties. They had also chosen a republican form of government, instead of keeping a monarchic one. Even more, the fact that Spain aided the colonies in their struggle against Britain weakened the argument that ending allegiance to the mother country could be considered a crime.[2]

The ideals of the French Revolution of 1789 were spreading as well. During the Revolution, centuries of monarchy were ended with the overthrow and execution of the King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, and the removal of the privileges of the nobility. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was highly popular among the young Criollos. The French Revolution also boosted liberal ideals in political and economic fields. Some of the notorious political liberal authors, who opposed monarchies and absolutism, were Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, while the most notorious economic liberal was Adam Smith. Liberal ideas also reached the church, and the concept of the divine right of kings started to be questioned.[3] The falling consensus about the divine right being legitimate gave room to monarchies being replaced by republics in France and the United States, but also to constitutional monarchies, such as in Great Britain.[4]

The Declaration of Independence of the United States inspired similar movements in the Spanish colonies in South America.

However, the spread of such ideals was mainly forbidden in the Spanish territories, as well as the traffic of related books or their unauthorized possession. Such blockades started when Spain declared war on France after the execution of Louis XVI, but was kept as well after the peace treaty of 1796. Nevertheless, the events of 1789 and the statements of the French Revolution spread around Spain despite the efforts to keep them at bay. Many enlightened Criollos came into contact with those authors and their works during university studies.[5] such as Manuel Belgrano in Spain[6] or Mariano Moreno,[7] Juan José Castelli[8] or Bernardo Monteagudo at the American university in Chuquisaca. Books from the US also found their way into the Spanish colonies through Caracas, due to the closeness of Venezuela to the United States and West Indies.[9]

The Industrial Revolution started in Britain, with manual labour and horse-drawn vehicles being replaced by machine-based manufacturing and transportation aided by railways and steam power. This led to dramatic increases in the productive capabilities of Britain,[10] and the need of new markets to sell the surplus of productions. The Napoleonic Wars, where Britain was at war with France, made this a difficult task, after Napoleon countered the British naval blockade with the Continental System, not allowing Britain to trade with any other European country. Thus, England needed to be able to trade with the Spanish colonies,[11] but could not do so because they were restricted to trade only with their own metropoli.[12] For this end they tried to conquer key cities during the British invasions, and after it to promote their emancipation.[12] The Industrial Revolution also gave room to authors who proposed a liberal economy, like Adam Smith or François Quesnay.

The Napoleonic wars were taking place in Europe, involving France, England and most European countries. Portugal broke the blockade imposed on British trade and, as a result, was invaded by France.[13] However, the Royal Family and the bulk of the kingdom's administration fled to colonial Brazil, in a move to preserve Portuguese sovereignty. Under the pretext of reinforcing the Franco-Spanish army occupying Portugal, French Imperial troops began filing into Spain. Shortly before the Spanish King Charles IV abdicated due to the mutiny of Aranjuez and gave the throne to his son, Ferdinand VII.[14] Feeling that he was forced to abdicate, Charles IV requested that Napoleon restore him to power. Napoleon helped remove Ferdinand VII from power, but did not return the crown to the former king: instead, he crowned his own brother Joseph Bonaparte, as the new Spanish King.[14] This whole process is known as the Abdications of Bayonne. Joseph's designation found severe resistance in Spain, and the Junta of Seville took power in the absence of the King. Until then, Spain had been an ally of France against Britain, but at this point the Spanish resistance changed sides and allied with Britain against France. The Junta of Seville was eventually defeated as well, being replaced by another one located in Cádiz.

National causes

During colonial times Spain was the only buyer of goods from the viceroyalty, and by law it was forbidden to trade with other nations. This situation damaged the viceroyalty, as Spain's economy was not powerful enough to buy and sell the quantities of goods that the Americas required.[15] Buenos Aires was even more damaged, as Spain did not send enough ships to the city, sending them to Mexico or Lima instead. This led Buenos Aires to develop a system of smuggling to obtain, by illegal means, the products that could not be received otherwise. This smuggling was allowed by most local authorities, and developed similar amounts of traffic as the legal commerce with Spain.[16] This whole situation developed two antagonistic groups: the ones who made leather products and wanted free commerce to be able to sell them, and the ones who benefited from the prices of the smuggled products, which would have to sell them at lower prices if such commerce was allowed.

In the political structure most authoritative positions were filled by people designated by the Spanish monarchy, most of them Spanish people from Europe, without strong compromises with American problems or interests. This created a growing rivalry between the Criollos, people born in America, and the peninsulares, people arrived from Europe (the term "Criollo" is usually translated to English as "Creole", despite being unrelated to most other Creole peoples). Despite the fact that all of them were considered Spanish, and that there was no legal distinction between Criollos and Peninsulares, most Criollos thought that Peninsulares had undue weight in political conflicts and expected a higher intervention in them, sentiment shared by the lower clergy.[17] This practice was mainly the result of social prejudice.[18] Criollos were also angered by the ease of immigrants from Spain, regardless of having humble origins, to acquire properties and social distinction that was negated to them.[18] However, this process was much slower than the one experimented by the British colonies in North America, in part because the educative system was managed almost exclusively by the clergy, influencing the development of a population as conservative as in the mother country.[19]

The coronation of Carlotte Joaquina was briefly considered an alternative to revolution.

Buenos Aires and Montevideo had successfully resisted two British invasions. The first one was in 1806, when a British army led by William Carr Beresford took control of Buenos Aires, until being defeated by an army from Montevideo, led by Santiago de Liniers. The following year a bigger army took Montevideo, but failed to take Buenos Aires, being forced to surrender and leave both cities. There was no Spanish aid from Europe either time, and to prepare for the second invasion Liniers formed militias with Criollos, despite regulations prohibiting this.[20] This gave them military power and political influence they did not have had before, with the biggest Criollo army being the Patricios Regiment led by Cornelio Saavedra. The victory achieved without help also boosted confidence on independence, by stating that the Spanish aid was not needed.[21]

By the ending of 1808 the whole Royal Family of Portugal left Europe, with the country being attacked by Napoleon, and settled in Brazil. The regent prince arrived with his wife, Charlotte Joaquina, daughter of Charles IV and sister of Ferdinand VII. When the news of the imprisonment of Ferdinand VII arrived in South America, Charlotte tried to take control of the viceroyalties as regent, a project known as Carlotism, intended to prevent a French invasion in the Americas. Some Criollos like Castelli, Beruti, Vieytes and Belgrano supported the project, considering it a chance to get a local government instead of one in Europe, or a medium for a later declaration of independence.[22] Other Criollos like Moreno, Paso or Saavedra were critics of it, as well as most peninsular Spaniards and Viceroy Liniers. They suspected the whole project of concealing Portuguese ambitions in the region.[23] Charlotte also rejected her supporters, as they intended her to lead a constitutional monarchy, while she wanted to retain an absolute monarchy. Britain, with strong presence in Portugal, also opposed the project: they did not want to let Spain be split into many kingdoms, and did not consider Charlotte able to prevent separatism.[24]


Liniers government

Portrait of Viceroy Santiago de Liniers.

After the successful liberation of Buenos Aires from the English troops, the population refused to let Rafael de Sobremonte, who had fled to Córdoba with the public treasury, remain as governor. Although he fled in line with a law from the time of Pedro de Cevallos, which required the treasury be kept safe in the case of a foreign attack, he was seen as a coward by the population because of it.[25] The Real Audiencia of Buenos Aires did not let him return to Buenos Aires or resume governing, and the new viceroy was then Santiago de Liniers, acclaimed as hero of the battles with high popular support. He was designated as an interim viceroy first, and later confirmed by the King Charles IV of Spain.[26]

The government of Liniers was popular among Criollos, but found resistance from peninsular Spaniards, such as Martín de Álzaga or Francisco Javier de Elío.[27] The French birth of Liniers was also a source of criticism when France invaded Spain and started the Peninsular War, which included the removal of the Spanish kings by the French occupying forces. Despite the clear statements by Liniers of remaining loyal to the Spanish Empire and his refusal to accept Joseph Bonaparte as king, his political enemies created rumours that he was plotting to accept Bonaparte.[28] They also promoted in the Río de la Plata the xenophobia that was taking place in Spain against the French, as an indirect means to attack Liniers and lower his prestige. Javier de Elío created a Junta in Montevideo, which would scrutinise all the orders coming from Buenos Aires and reserved the right to ignore them, without openly denying the authority of the viceroy or declaring themselves independent.

Riot of Álzaga

Martín de Álzaga, a Spanish merchant based in Buenos Aires, set off a riot in order to remove Liniers. On January 1, 1809, an open cabildo demanded the resignation of the Viceroy Liniers and appointed a Junta on behalf of Ferdinand VII, chaired by Álzaga; the Spanish militia and a group of people summoned by the bell of the council supported the rebellion. A small number of Criollos (notably Mariano Moreno) supported the riot as a means to gain independence, but most of them did not.[29] The lawyer Juan José Castelli even started a legal case against Álzaga accusing him of independentism. The seeming contradiction is explained in that the goals of Álzaga were not those of the Criollos: he wanted to remove the viceroy to avoid being constrained by his political authority, but he intended to keep the social differences between Criollos and European Spaniards unchanged.[30]

Criollo militias led by Cornelio Saavedra surrounded the square, causing the insurgents to disperse. The leaders were exiled, and the rebel units were dissolved. As a result, military power was in the hands of natives who had sustained Liniers: all military units still active after the riot were Criollo, with no militias that would answer to the peninsular Spaniards. The rivalry between Criollos and peninsular Spaniards deepened. The perpetrators of the plot, exiled to El Carmen, were rescued by Elio and taken to Montevideo.[31]

Appointment of Cisneros

Portrait of Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros.

In Spain, the Junta of Seville decided to end the fighting in the Río de la Plata, providing a replacement for Liniers in the form of Don Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros, who arrived in Montevideo in June 1809. Manuel Belgrano detailed in his autobiography that he that he proposed that Liniers resist his removal and reject the appointment of Cisneros, on the grounds that Liniers had been confirmed as Viceroy by a Spanish king still in the government, while Cisneros may lack such legitimacy.[32] Nevertheless, Liniers accepted to give up his government to Cisneros, without any resistance. The handover took place in Colonia del Sacramento, not in Buenos Aires, because the Junta received many conflicting reports about the politicians and the nature of the events taking place, and Cisneros wanted to make sure of the real state of things before arriving to the capital. Javier de Elio accepted the authority of the new viceroy and dissolved the Junta of Montevideo, becoming once again the governor of the city. Cisneros rearmed the Spanish militias disbanded after the coup against Liniers, and pardoned those responsible for them.[33]

In economic terms, given the difficulties and costs of trade with Spain, Cisneros accepted the proposal of Mariano Moreno and established on November 6, 1809 the free trade agreements with other powers. The main beneficiaries were Britain and livestock sectors, exporting hides. However, traders who profited from smuggling asked Cisneros to set aside free trade, which he agreed to do in order to keep their support. This led in turn to the British, Mac Kinnon and Captain Doyle as representatives, to demand a review of the measure, invoking the character of allies against Napoleon in Spain and Britain. Mariano Moreno also criticized the cancellation, making the "Representación de los Hacendados", which is considered the most comprehensive economic report on the time of vice-royalty.[34] Cisneros finally decided to grant an extension of free trade, which would end on May 19, 1810.[35]

On November 25, 1809 Cisneros created the Political Surveillance Court with the aim of pursuing the supporters of French ideologies and those who encouraged the creation of political regimes that opposed the dependence on Spain.[36] This, and a proclamation issued by the viceroy to prevent the spreading of news that might be considered subversive, made the Criollos think that a formal pretext would be enough to take actions that would lead to the outbreak of a revolution. On April 1810, Cornelio Saavedra expressed his famous quote to his friends: It's not time yet, let the figs ripen and then we'll eat them.[37]

Revolutions in Upper Peru

Portrait of Pedro Murillo, by Joaquín Pinto.

Discontent with Spanish officials was also expressed in Upper Peru. On May 25, 1809, a revolution in Chuquisaca deposed the governor and president of the Royal Audiencia of Charcas, Ramón García de León y Pizarro, and accused him of supporting a Portuguese protectorate under the authority of Princess Charlotte. Military command fell to Colonel Juan Antonio Alvarez de Arenales, who due to uncertainty as to who should be in charge of civilian affairs, also exercised some civil powers.[38] On July 16, in the city of La Paz, a second revolutionary movement led by Colonel Pedro Domingo Murillo and other individuals forced the governor, Tadeo Davila and the Bishop of La Paz, Remigio de la Santa y Ortega, to resign. Political power went to the local cabildo until a "Junta Tuitiva de los Derechos del Pueblo" ("Junta, keeper of the rights of the people"), headed by Murillo, was formed.[38]

The first revolution did not intend to alter Chuquisaca's loyalty to the king, while the revolution of La Paz openly declared independence. Today, historians do not agree on whether the revolution of Chuquisaca was motivated by independence or if it was just a dispute between supporters of Ferdinand VII and Carlota. Consequently, there is disagreement on whether the first revolution to proclaim independence in Spanish America was that of Chuquisaca or that of La Paz. The researchers Juan Reyes and Genoveva Loza support the latter, arguing that in Chuquisaca the Spanish system of government was maintained and that it did not support the revolution in La Paz,[39] while others such as Charles Arnade, Teodocio Imaña, Gabriel René Moreno or Felipe Pigna argue that the Chuquisaca revolution supported independence, citing as its main foundation the political philosophical concept of the "Syllogism of Chuquisaca" that proposed self-determination.[39][40]

The reaction of Spanish officials defeated these movements. An army with 1,000 men from Buenos Aires found no resistance at Chuquisaca, took control of the city and deposed the Junta.[38] La Paz, on the other hand, was defended by Murillo, but his 800 men were completely outnumbered by the more than 5,000 men sended from Lima by Abascal.[38] Murillo and the other leaders were beheaded and their heads exhibited to the people as deterrent.[38] The measures taken against those revolutions reinforced the feeling of inequity among Criollos because they contrasted greatly with the pardon Martín de Álzaga received after serving some time in jail. This deepened the resentment of the locals against the Spanish mainland.[41] Among others, Juan José Castelli was present at the proceedings of the University of Saint Francis Xavier where the Syllogism of Chuquisaca was developed and which influenced his positions during the week of May.[42]

May week

Claude Victor-Perrin lead the french troops that took Seville during the Peninsular War.

Is it normally called "may week" by academics beginning with the confirmation of the fall of the Junta of Seville and ending with the dismissal of Cisneros and the confirmation of the Primera Junta.[43]

On May 14, the British war schooner HMS Mistletoe arrived at Buenos Ares from Gibraltar, carrying newspapers from the previous January announcing the dissolution of the Junta of Seville. The city of Seville was taken by the French, who already dominated most of the Peninsula. The newspaper also said that some of its members had taken refuge on the island of Leon in Cadiz. The Junta was one of the last bastions of power of the Spanish crown, and had fallen to the Napoleonic Empire, which had previously removed the King Ferdinand VII through the abdications of Bayonne. Such news were confirmed in Buenos Aires on the 17th, with the arrival to Montevideo of the British frigate HMS John Paris; the news provided by it added as well that members of the Junta of Seville had been refused. Cisneros tried to hide the news by establishing rigorous monitoring around the British warships and seizing every newspaper that landed from the boats, but one of them came into the hands of Manuel Belgrano and Juan José Castelli.[44] They were responsible for spreading the news, which challenged the legitimacy of the Viceroy, appointed by the fallen Junta.[44]

Cornelio Saavedra, head of the regiment of Patricians, who in the past had advised against taking rushed actions against the Viceroy, was also made aware of the news. Saavedra considered, from a strategic standpoint, that the ideal time to proceed with the revolutionary plans would be the time when Napoleon's forces gained a decisive advantage in their war against Spain. Upon hearing the news of the fall of the Junta of Seville, Saavedra decided that the perfect time to take action against Cisneros had arrived.[45] Martín Rodríguez proposed to overthrow the viceroy by force, but Castelli and Saavedra rejected this idea and preferred the celebration of an open cabildo.[46]

Friday, May 18

Viceroy Cisneros attempted to conceal the news from the people; however, the rumor had already spread throughout Buenos Aires. He decided then to give his own version of the facts through a proclamation, while trying to calm down the Criollos. He asked for allegiance to King Ferdinand, but popular unrest continued to intensify. Despite being aware of the news,[47] he only said that the situation in the Peninsula was delicate, but did not confirm the fall of the Junta.

In Spanish America the throne of the Catholic Monarchs will endure, in the case it succumbs on the peninsula. (...) The superior government will not make any determination that is not previously agreed upon in union with all representatives of the capital city, to which subsequently will join those of the dependent provinces, until, in agreement with the other viceroyalties, a representation of the sovereignty of Ferdinand VII is established.[48]

Not fooled by the Viceroy's story, some Criollos decided to meet at the houses of Nicolás Rodríguez Peña and Hipólito Vieytes. During these secret sessions they decided to name a representative commission to ask Cisneros for an open cabildo composed by Juan José Castelli and Martín Rodríguez. They intended to decide there the future of the Viceroy.

Saturday, May 19

During the night of May 19 there were further discussions at Rodríguez Peña house. It was requested to Viamonte to call Saavedra, who joined the meeting. There was a number of both military leaders, such as Rodríguez, Ocampo, Balcarce, Díaz Vélez, and civil ones such as Castelli, Vieytes, Alberti or Paso. It was decided to make Belgrano and Saavedra met with senior alcalde Juan Jose de Lezica, and Castelli with the procurator, Julián de Leyva, calling for support of the cabildo. They wanted to ask Viceroy to open a cabildo, saying that if not granted, it would be demanded by the population itself.[49]

Sunday, May 20

Juan José Castelli requests an open cabildo to Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros. Bas-relief by Gustavo Eberlein.

Lezica sent Cisneros the request he had received, and he consulted Leyva, who favored the making of an open cabildo. Before deciding, the Viceroy summoned military commanders to come forward at seven o'clock in the evening at the fort. Cisneros demanded a response to his request for support, but Colonel Cornelio Saavedra, head of Patricios Regiment, responded on behalf of all the natives saying:

Sir, they are very different times the January 1, 1809 and the May 1810, in which we find ourselves. Then, there was Spain, even if already invaded by Napoleon, in this, all of it, all its provinces and squares are subjugated by that conqueror, but only Cadiz and the Isle of Leon, as the newspapers say that we just come and V.E. in his proclamation of yesterday. And what, sir? Cadiz and the Isle of Leon are Spain? This immense territory, its millions of inhabitants, have to acknowledge sovereignty in the merchants of Cadiz and the fishermen of the Isle of Leon? Do the rights of the Crown of Castile who the Americas entered into, have fallen into Cadiz and the Isle of Leon, which are a part of one of the provinces of Andalucia? No sir, we do not follow the fortunes of Spain, nor be dominated by the French, we have decided to resume our duties and keep us by ourselves. Those who had given V.E. authority to rule us no longer exists; consequently you don't have it anymore either, so do not count on the strength of my command to hold it.[50]

There was a new meeting at Rodriguez Peña's home at midnight, where the military leaders explained the events that took place. Castelli and Martín Rodríguez were sent to the Fort for a new interview with Cisneros. The guardians let them pass unannounced, and they found Cisneros playing cards with brigadier Quintana, prosecutor Caspe and aide Coicolea. Castelli and Rodríguez demanded an open cabildo and Cisneros reacted in anger, considering their request an outrage, but Rodriguez interrupted him and forced him to give a definitive answer.[51] After a short private discussion with Caspe, Cisneros reluctantly gave his consent to the creation of the open cabildo.[51] It would be opened on May 22.

On the same night there was a theatre production on the theme of tyranny, called "Rome Saved", which was attended by many of the revolutionaries. The police chief tried to convince the actor not to appear and, with the excuse of being ill, to replace the work with "Misanthropy and repentance," by the German poet Kotzebue. Rumors of police censorship spread quickly, so Morante came and performed the work planned, in which he played Cicero. In the fourth act, Morante made a patriotic roman speech, talking about Rome being menaced by the gallus and the need to have a strong leadership to resist the danger.[52] This scene flared the revolutionary spirits, which led to frenzied applause to the work. Juan José Paso stood up and shouted "¡Viva Buenos Aires libre!" ("Long live free Buenos Aires!"), which produced a small fight with other people present.[52]

After the play, the revolutionaries were called once again to Peña's house. They learned the result of the last meeting, and were unsure if Cisneros really intended to keep his word. As a result, they decided to organize a demonstration for the following day, in order to ensure that the open cabildo was celebrated as decided.[52]

Monday, May 21

Invitation to the open cabildo

At 3pm, the Cabildo began its work routine, but was interrupted by 600 armed men, grouped under the name "Infernal legion" (in Spanish, "Legión Infernal"), which occupied the Plaza de la Victoria, nowadays Plaza de Mayo, and loudly demanded the convention of an Open Cabildo and the resignation of Viceroy Cisneros. They carried a portrait of Fernando VII and the lapel of their jackets bore a white ribbon symbolizing the Criollo-Spanish unity. Among the rioters were Domingo French and Antonio Beruti. The demonstration was so strong that some rumors circulated saying that Cisneros had been killed in it and that Saavedra would take the government.[53] The people distrusted Cisneros and did not believe he was going to keep his word to allow the making of the open cabildo the next day. The liquidator Leiva failed to calm the crowd by ensuring that it would be held as planned. People settled down and dispersed through the intervention of Cornelio Saavedra, head of the Regiment of Patricians, who said that the claims of the Infernal Legion had their military support.[54]

On May 21 invitations were distributed among 450 leading citizens and officials in the capital. The guest list was compiled by the Cabildo, trying to guarantee the result by selecting people that would be likely to support the Viceroy. For this, they prepared a list a guests taking into account the most prominent residents of the city. However, the revolutionaries countered such move by making a similar one on their own: Agustín Donado (French and Beruti colleague), in charge of printing the invitations, printed many more than requested and distributed the surplus among the Criollos.[55] By the night, Castelli, Rodríguez, French and Beruti visited all the barracks to harangue the troops and prepare them for the following day.[56]

Tuesday, May 22

The open cabildo, by Juan Manuel Blanes.

According to the official acts, of the 450 invited guests at the open cabildo, only about 251 attended.[57] French and Beruti, commanding 600 men armed with knives, shotguns and rifles, controlled access to the square, with the aim of ensuring that the open cabildo had a majority of Criollos. All the note-worthy religious and civil people were present, as well as militia commanders and many neighbours. The troops were garrisoned and on alert, ready to take action in case of commotion.[58]

The meeting lasted from morning to midnight, with various times, including the reading of the proclamation of the Cabildo, the debate, and the vote, individual and public, written by each attendee and past the minutes of the meeting. The debate in the council had as its main theme the government's legitimacy and the authority of the Viceroy. The principle of retroversion of the sovereignty of the people stated that, missing the legitimate monarch, the power returned to the people; and they were entitled to form a new government. This principle was commonplace in Spanish scholasticism and rationalist philosophy, but had no precedents of being applied in case law.[59]

There were two main positions, those who argued that the situation should remain unchanged, supporting Cisneros in his office of Viceroy, and those who believed they should form a Junta to replace him, as in Spain; and a measured one between both.[60] The promoters of the change did not recognize the authority of the Regency Council, arguing that the colonies in America were not consulted in its formation. The debate also covered, tangentially, the rivalry between Criollos and the peninsular Spanish, as proponents of keeping the Viceroy considered that the will of the Spanish should prevail over that of the Criollos.

One of the speakers at the first position was the bishop of Buenos Aires, Benito Lue y Riega, leader of the local church. Lue y Riega argued that:

Not only is there no reason to make news with the Viceroy, but even when there is no part of Spain that was not subdued, the Spanish who were in America must take and resume command of them and that it could only come to the hands of the sons of the country when there was a Spanish no longer there. Although it would have been a single member of the Central Junta of Seville and up on our shores, we should receive as the Sovereign.[61]

Juan José Castelli was the main orator of the revolutionaries. He based his speech on two main ideas: the expiration of the legitimate government, stating the Junta of Seville was dissolved and had no rights to designate a Regency, and the mentioned principle of retroversion of sovereignty.[62] He spoke after Riega, arguing that the American people should assume the direction of their destinations until cessation of the impediment of Ferdinand VII to return to the throne.

Nobody could repute the whole nation as a criminal, nor the individuals that have opened their political views. If the right of conquest belongs, by right, to the conqueror country, it would be fair that the Spain started to give reason to the priest by giving up the resistance made against the French and submitting to them, by the same principles for which it is expected that the Americans submit themselves to the peoples of Pontevedra. The reason and the rule must be equal for everybody. There are no conquerors or conquered here, here there aren't but Spanish people. The Spanish of Spain have lost their land. The Spanish of America try to save theirs. Let the ones from Spain deal with themselves as they can and don't worry, we Americans know what we want and where we go. Thus, I suggest we vote: that we enact an authority other than the Viceroy, that will be subject of the metropole if it gets saved from the French, that will be independent if Spain ends subyugated.[63]

Pascual Ruiz Huidobro stated that since the authority that had appointed Cisneros had expired, he should be left apart from any function of government, and that in its role as representative of the people the council should assume and exercise authority. His vote was supported by Melchor Fernández, Juan León Ferragut, Joaquín Grigera, among others.[64]

Cornelio Saavedra's position was the one who ended up prevailing.

Attorney Manuel Genaro Villota, representative of the conservative Spanish, said that the city of Buenos Aires had no right to make unilateral decisions about the legitimacy of the Viceroy or the Regency Council without the participation of other cities in the debate of the other cities of the viceroyalty. He argued that it would break the unity of the country and establish as many sovereignties as cities. The purpose of such a point of view was to keep Cisneros in power by delaying possible actions.[65] Juan José Paso accepted him being right at the first point, but argued that the conflicted situation in Europe and the possibility that Napoleon's forces may continue conquering the American colonies were demanding an urgent solution.[66] He designed then the "argument of the oldest sister", for which Buenos Aires took the initiative to make changes deemed necessary and appropriate, upon the express condition that other cities would be invited to comment as soon as possible.[67] The rhetorical figure of the "oldest sister", comparable to business management, is a name that makes an analogy between the relationship of Buenos Aires and other cities of the viceroyalty with a filial relationship.[67]

The priest Juan Nepomuceno Solá thought the command was given to the Cabildo, but only provisionally, until the completion of a governing Junta to call on representatives of all populations of the Viceroyalty. His vote was supported by Manuel Alberti, Azcuénaga, Escalada, Argerich or Aguirre, among others.[64]

Cornelio Saavedra suggested that the control should be delegated to the council until the formation of a governing junta, in the manner and form that the council deemed appropriate. He pointed out the phrase "(...) and there is no doubt that it is the people that makes the authority or command."[57] At the time of the vote, Castelli's position was coupled with that of Saavedra.[68]

Manuel Belgrano was near a window, and in case of problems with the regular development of the open cabildo he would give a signal by waiving a white cloth. The people gathered in the Plaza, in that case, would have forced their way into the Cabildo. However, there were no problems and this alternative plan was not implemented.[69]

Wednesday, May 23

The debate took all day, and the vote counting took place very late in the night. After the presentations, a vote was taken by the continuity of the Viceroy, alone or associated, or dismissal. The voting lasted for a long time, and decided to dismiss the Viceroy by a large majority: 155 votes to 69. The votes against Cisneros were distributed as follows:[68]

  • Plan under which the authority vested in the Cabildo: 4 votes
  • Plan Juan Nepomuceno de Sola: 18 votes
  • Plan Pedro Andres Garcia, Juan José Paso and Luis Jose Chorroarín: 20 votes.
  • Plan Ruiz Huidobro: 25 votes
  • Plan and Saavedra Castelli: 87 votes

At dawn on May 23 a document was released, stating that the Viceroy should end his mandate. The authority would temporarily fall into the Cabildo, until the designation of a government Junta.[70] After completing the open cabildo, notices were placed at various points throughout the city that reported the creation of the Junta and the call to deputies from the provinces, and called to refrain from attempting actions contrary to public policy.[71]

Thursday, May 24

Domingo French was one of the leaders of the popular revolutionary groups.

On the 24th the Cabildo, following a proposal by the liquidator Leyva, interpreted the results of the open cabildo and formed the new Junta, which was to be maintained until the arrival of deputies from the rest of the viceroyalty. Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros was the president and commander of arms, along with four members: the Criollos Cornelio Saavedra and Juan José Castelli, and the Spanish Juan Nepomuceno Solá and José Santos Inchaurregui.[71] There are many interpretations for the motives of this action. Historian Diego Abad de Santillán states that the formula responded to the proposal of Bishop Benito Lue y Riega to keep the Viceroy in power with partners or attachments, even though the same proposal would have been defeated in elections at the open cabildo, and that with it the lobbyists felt that in this way they could contain the threat of revolution taking place in society.[71] Félix Luna, on the other hand, considers it an effort to avoid conflicts by using a middle ground solution by conceding things to all the parties involved, as Cisneros would remain in office, but sharing power with Criollos.[72]

It was also included a constitutional regulation of 13 articles, written by Leyva, to govern the actions of the Junta. Among the principles included, provided that the Junta would not exercise judicial power, which would be exercised by the Court, that Cisneros could not act without the backing of other members of the Junta, that the council could depose the members who neglected their duty and must approve proposals for new taxes, which would sanction a general amnesty on the opinions in the open council of 22, and that the councils would request them to send deputies inside. The armed forces's commanders gave their agreement, including Saavedra, and Pedro Andrés García.

When the news was announced, both the people and the militia became agitated, and the place was invaded by a mob led by French and Beruti. Cisneros staying in power, albeit with a different post than Viceroy, was seen as an affront to the will of the open cabildo. Colonel Martín Rodriguez explained that if their soldiers were ordered to support Cisneros, they would have to open fire against the population and that most soldiers would revolt, as they shared the desire to remove the Viceroy from power.[73] There was discussion on Rodríguez Peña's house, where he began to doubt the loyalty of Saavedra. Castelli pledged to intervene for the people to be consulted again, and between Mariano Moreno, Matias Feliciano Chiclana Irigoyen and calmed down the military and youth in the plaza.

At night, a delegation headed by Castelli and Saavedra went to the residence of Cisneros informing the state of unrest and popular rebellion of the troops, announcing their resignations to the Junta and demanding his own one. Cisneros wrote his resignation and sent it to the Cabildo, who would consider it the following day. A delegation of the Patriots claimed the house of receiver Leyva is reconvening of the people, despite their initial resistance finally agreed to do so.

Friday, May 25

Portrait of the events of May 25.

On the morning of 25 May, despite the bad weather, a crowd began gathering in the Main Plaza, current Plaza de Mayo, with the militia led by Domingo French and Antonio Beruti. It demanded the annulment of the Junta designated the previous day, the final resign of Viceroy Cisneros and the formation of a Junta without him. The historian Bartolomé Mitre said French and Beruti distributed blue and white ribbons among the guests, later historians doubt that statement, but consider it possible that distinctives were distributed among the revolutionaries for self-identification.[74] Despite Cisneros having resigned the night before, it was rumored that the Cabildo may reject his resignation.[75] The crowd's agitation lead to the chapter house being overrun. Due to the delays in issuing a decision, people began to stir, claiming "The people want to know what it is all about!".

The council met at nine in the morning and requested the popular agitation was suppressed by force. For this, they summoned the chief commanders, but they did not obey their orders. Several, including Saavedra, did not present, those that did said not only they could not support the government but neither themselves, and if they tried to repress the demonstrations they would be disobeyed.

The people gathered in the Plaza, led by French and Beruti, invaded the Cabildo again. They were requested to deliver their requests in a written manner, and with signatures. After a long interval, a document with 411 signatures (still conserved) was delivered. This paper designated the composition of the Primera Junta and an expedition of 500 men to assist the provinces. The document had many illegible signatures, the signatures of most army commanders, and many known neighbours. French and Beruti signed the document stating "for me and for six hundred more".[76] However, there is no unanimous view among historians about the authorship of that document. Some like Vicente Fidel López claim that was exclusively the product of the popular initiative. For others, such as historian Félix Luna, the composition shows such a level of balance among the political and ideological parties involved that it can't be considered the result of an improvised initiative.[77] The president Saavedra had a decisive intervention in the revolution and had prestige among all parties. Juan José Paso, Manuel Belgrano, Juan José Castelli and Mariano Moreno were lawyers influenced by the libertarian ideas, and the first three were supporters of the Carlotist project. Juan Larrea and Domingo Matheu were peninsular Spanish, involved in commercial activities of medium importance. Both of them were supporters of Martín de Álzaga, as well as Moreno. Miguel de Azcuénaga was another military, with contacts among the high society, and the priest Manuel Alberti represented the aspirations of the lower clergy. Miguel Angel Scenna points in his book "Las brevas maduras" that "such balance could not have been the result of chance or influences from outside of local context, but of a compromise of parties". Both authors deny the theory that claims that the composition of the Junta may had been suggested by the British: there was no time for that, nor there was any British man in Buenos Aires important enough as to influence in such matters.[78]

The Chapter went to the balcony to submit directly to the ratification of the people's request. But given the lateness of the hour and the weather, the number of people in the square had declined, which Leiva pointed to ridicule the claim of the deputation to speak on behalf of the people. This filled the patience of the few who were in the square in the drizzle. From that time (says the minutes of the Town Hall),

we hear from those voices that until then it had proceeded with caution because the city did not experiment disasters, it would already be dipping into the means of violence, that people, being inconvenient time, had retired to their homes; which touched the bell Cabildo, and the people were gathered in that place to the satisfaction of the City Council, and that if for lacking of the striker it was made no use of the bell, would send them to play general and the barracks were opened in which case the city would suffer what until then had sought to avoid.

It should be noted that the clapper of the bell of the Cabildo had been ordered removed by the Viceroy Santiago de Liniers after the riot of Álzaga at 1809. With the prospect of more violence, the request was read aloud and ratified by the attendees. The rules that govern the Junta were roughly the same as that proposed for the Junta of 24, adding that the council would control the activity of the members and that the Junta would appoint replacements in case of vacancies. Then, Saavedra spoke to the crowd gathered in the rain, and then moved to Fort between salvos of artillery and ringing of bells. Meanwhile, Cisneros dispatched José Melchor Lavin to Cordoba to warn Santiago de Liniers about what happened and to demand military action against the Junta.

The Primera Junta was composed as follows:

Lithograpy of the members of the Primera Junta.




Viewpoint of Cisneros

The deposed Viceroy Cisneros gave his version of events the week of May in a letter to King Ferdinand VII dated June 22, 1810:

I had ordered which opted for this event a company in each intersection of the square so that they not be allowed to enter or upload it to the Houses Capitulares anyone who was not of those, but the soldiers and officers were the party, did what their commanders warned them secretly and they warned them what they ordered the faction refused passage to the plaza to the neighbors honest and flanked to the conspiracy, they had some official copy of the notes of treat them nameless and introduced to the houses of the City Council to subjects not referred by the council knew or because of bias or because the money earned, so in a city of over three thousand residents of distinction and name only attended by two hundred and of those, many storekeepers, some craftsmen, other children of the family and the most ignorant and without the slightest notion to discuss a matter of utmost gravity.

Revolutionary purposes

The May Revolution declared loyalty to Ferdinand VII of Spain.

The government created on May 25 was pronounced loyal to the deposed Spanish king Ferdinand VII, but historians do not agree on whenever such loyalty was genuine or not. Since Mitre, many historians consider that such loyalty was merely a political deception to gain factual autonomy.[79][80][81] The Primera Junta did not pledged allegiance to the Regency Counsel of Spain and the Indies, an agency of the Spanish monarchy still in operation, and in 1810 the possibility that Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated and Ferdinand returned to the throne (which would finally happened on December 11, 1813 with the signing of the Treaty of Valençay) still seemed remote and unlikely.[82] The purpose of the deception would have been to gain time to strengthen the position of the patriotic cause, avoiding the reactions that may have led by a revolution, on the grounds that monarchical authority was still respected and that no revolution took place. The ruse is known as the "Mask of Ferdinand VII" and would have been upheld by the Primera Junta, the Junta Grande, and the First and Second Triumvirates. The Assembly of Year XIII was intended to declare independency, but failed to do so because of other political conflicts between its members; however, it suppressed mentions to Ferdinand VII from official documents. The supreme directors held an ambivalent attitude until the declaration of independence of 1816.

For Britain the change was favorable, as it facilitated trade with the cities of the area without seeing it hampered by the monopoly that Spain maintained over their colonies. However, Britain prioritized the war in Europe against France, allied with the Spanish power sector that had not yet been submitted, and could not appear to support American independentist movements or allow military attention of Spain being divided into two different fronts. Consequently, they pushed for independence demonstrations not being made explicit. This pressure was exerted by Lord Strangford, the British ambassador at the court of Rio de Janeiro, expressing support to the Junta, but conditioned "...if the behavior is consistent and that Capital retained on behalf of Mr. Dn. Fernando VII and his legitimate successors."[83] However, the following conflicts between Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Artigas led to internal conflicts in the British front, between Strangford and the Portuguese regent John VI of Portugal.[83]

Since Juan Bautista Alberdi, later historians such as Norberto Galasso,[84] Luis Romero or José Carlos Chiaramonte[85] held in doubt the interpretation made by Mitre, and designed a different one. Alberdi thought that "The Argentine revolution is a chapter of the Hispanoamerican revolution, which is such of the Spanish one, and this, as well, of the European revolution." They did not consider it a dispute between independentism and colonialism, but instead a dispute between the new libertarian ideas and absolutism, without the intention to cut the relation with Spain, but to reformulate it. Thus, it would have the characteristics of a civil war instead. Some points that would justify the idea would be the inclusion of Larrea, Matheu and Belgrano in the Junta and the later appearance of José de San Martín: Larrea and Matheu were Spanish, Belgrano studied for many years in Spain, and San Martín had lived so far most of his adult life waging war in Spain against the French. When San Martín talked about the enemies, he called them "royalists" or "Goths", but never "Spanish".

According to those historians, the Spanish revolution against absolutism got mixed with the Peninsular War. Charles IV was seen as an absolutist king, and by standing against his father many Spanish got the wrong understanding that Ferdinand VII sympathized with the new enlighten ideas. Thus, the revolutions made in the Americas in the name of Ferdinand VII (such as the May Revolution, the Chuquisaca Revolution or the one in Chile) would have been seeking to replace the absolutist power with others made under the new ideas. Even if Spain was at war with France, the ideals themselves of the French Revolution (liberty, equality and fraternity) were still respected by those people. However, those revolutions pronounced themselves enemies of Napoleon, but did not face any active French military attack, which promoted instead fights between Spanish armies for keeping the old order of maintaining the new one. This situation would have changed with the final defeat of Napoleon and the return of Ferdinand VII to the throne, as he restored absolutism and persecuted the new libertarian ideas within Spain. For the people in South America, the idea of remaining as part of the Spanish Empire, but with a new relation with the mother country, was no longer a feasible option: the only remaining options at this point would have been a return to absolutism, or independentism.

Cornelio Saavedra spoke about the issue privately with Juan José Viamonte in a letter from 27 June 1811, addressing topics such as a known display of independentism by Máximo de Zamudio. This letter was subsequently rescued. In it, he explicitly mentioned the situation as a deception to avoid England from declaring war on them.

Foreign courts, and very specially the British one, demand nothing, save that we carry on the name of Ferdinand and the hate to Napoleon. Those two axis are why it isn't our declared enemy. Read by yourself the notice that has just been published in the British newspapers recently received (adjunted). In them you can see by yourself it is expressly said that the British court declares not to feel itself compeled by any convention to substain a part of the Spanish monarchy against the other, for reason of some remaining disagrement among them about the type of government, in which they have to rule their respective systems, under the condition that they recognize their legitimate sovereign, and they oppose the tyranny and the usurpation of the France. Thus, if we did not recognize Ferdinand, Britain would have the right or feel itself obliged to substain our enemies that do so, and would declare war upon us, same as if we did not despise Napoleon; and what forces does the poor viceroyalty of Buenos Aires have to resist this power in the first steps of its childhood? Or what need does it have to willingly atract for itself this powerful and external enemy when it hasn't ended with the interior ones that keep bothering us to this day? Among those powerful considerations, the free citizen Zamudio wants it to be shouted, independence, independence. What is lost if by written words we say Ferdinand, Ferdinand, and with works we pave the way for the Congress, sole competent tribunal that can and must establish and decide the system or form of government deemed convenient, agreed upon by the deputees that will compose it?[86]

It should be noted that the groups who supported or carried out the revolution were not completely homogeneous in their purpose, and several had disparate interests together. The progressive Criollos and young people, represented on the Junta by Moreno, Castelli, Belgrano and Paso, aspired to far-reaching political, economic and social reforms. Moreover, the military and bureaucrats, whose views were carried forward by Saavedra, simply wanted a renewal of office holders, aspiring to remove the Spanish from the exclusive use of power, but inheriting their privileges and powers. The merchants and landlords subordinated the political issues to the economic decisions, particularly with respect to the opening or not of trade with England. Finally, some groups shuffled possibilities to replace the authority of the Regency Council with that of Charlotte of Portugal or the British crown, but such projects have had limited impact. These groups worked together for the common goal of expelling Cisneros from power, but after the Primera Junta was settled they began to express their internal differences.

No religious factors were involved in the revolution: all the revolutionaries and royalists agreed to support Catholicism. Still, most church leaders opposed the revolution. In Upper Peru the royalists and religious authorities sought to equate the revolutionaries with heretics, but the revolutionary leaders always promoted conciliatory policies in the religious aspects. For instance, Mariano Moreno translated The Social Contract to Spanish, but left aside the chapters that criticized religion. The priests and monks, however, were divided geographically: the provinces "from below" were loyal to the revolution, while those of Upper Peru preferred to remain loyal to the monarchy.


Portrait of the Primera Junta.

Neither the council of regency, the members of the Royal Court or the Spanish population from Europe believed the premise of loyalty to King Ferdinand VII, not willingly accepting the new situation. Audience members did not want to swear in members of the Primera Junta, and in doing so they did it with expressions of contempt. On June 15 members of the Royal Court secretly swore allegiance to the Council of Regency and sent circulars to the inner cities, calling to disregard the new government. To stop their maneuvers, the Junta convened to all members of the audience, Bishop Lue y Riega and the former Viceroy Cisneros, arguing that their lives were in danger, sending them on the British ship Dart. Its captain Mark Brigut Larrea was instructed not to stop at any American port and transfer all shipped to the Canary Islands. Following the successful removal of the aforementioned groups a new audience was appointed, composed entirely of natives loyal to the revolution.

With the exception of Cordoba, cities that are now part of Argentina endorsed the Primera Junta. The Upper Peru did not take position, due to the outcomes of revolutions in Chuquisaca and La Paz shortly before. Paraguay was undecided. In the Banda Oriental there was a strong royalist stronghold, as in Chile.

Mariano Moreno was an influent member of the Primera Junta.

Santiago de Liniers led a counterrevolution in Cordoba, against which it was led the first military movement of the government's independence. However, despite the rise of Liniers and his prestige as a hero against the British invasions, the population of Cordoba in general supported the revolution, which led to the power of his army being sapped by desertions and sabotage. The counter-rising of Liniers was quickly smothered by the forces led by Francisco Ortiz de Ocampo. However, once captured Ocampo refused to shoot Liniers who had fought alongside him in the British invasions, so that the execution was done by Juan José Castelli.

After quelling the rebellion, the Junta proceeded to send military expeditions to many other cities, demanding support for the Primera Junta. The military service was requested to almost all families, both poor and rich, whereupon most of the patrician families chose to send their slaves to the army instead of to their children. This is one of the reasons for the decline of the black population in Argentina.

Montevideo, which had a rivalry with the city of Buenos Aires from time before, opposed the Primera Junta and was declared new capital of the viceroyalty by Spanish Juntas, which appointed Francisco Javier de Elío as new Viceroy. The city was well defended and could resist possible attacks from Buenos Aires, but the peripheral cities around Montevideo acted contrary to it and supported the change. Led by José Gervasio Artigas, they kept Montevideo under siege until the defeat of the royalists.

The Captaincy General of Chile (modern Chile) followed a process similar to the May Revolution during the same year and was ruled by a Government Junta, starting a brief period known as Patria Vieja. However, they would be defeated in 1814 during the battle of Rancagua, and with the Reconquista Chile would become again a royalist stronghold. Even so, the Andes mountain range provided an effective natural barrier between the revolutionaries and Chile, so there was no military confrontation with them until the completion of the Crossing of the Andes by José de San Martín and the Army of the Andes at 1817. After it, the Royalists in Chile were defeated.

The Primera Junta expanded its membership to incorporate within itself the deputies sent by the cities that supported the Revolution, after which the Junta became known as the Junta Grande. Juntas would be dissolved after the defeat on the battle of Huaqui, replaced by triumvirates, and later by the unipersonal authority of a Supreme Director. With Martín Miguel de Güemes holding the royalist armies at bay in the north, and San Martín attacking the royalist stronghold in Lima from the sea (using Chilean ships), the war moved to the north of South America, and Buenos Aires would engage instead into the Argentine Civil Wars.


According to historian Félix Luna in his book "A Brief History of the Argentines", one of the most important consequences of the May Revolution in society was the paradigm shift, which was the way the relationship between the people and rulers was considered. Until that time, the conception of common good prevailed: while respecting fully the royal authority, when considering that a warrant from the crown of Spain was detrimental to the common good of the local population, it was half-met or ignored. This was a normal procedure. With the revolution, the concept of common good gave way to popular sovereignty, driven by people like Moreno, Castelli or Monteagudo, which held that in the absence of legitimate authority the people had the right to appoint their own leaders. Over time, popular sovereignty would give way to majority rule, which posits that it is the majority of the population that determines, at least in theory, the current government. This maturation of the ideas was slow and gradual, and took many decades to crystallize in an election, but was what finally led to the adoption of the republican system as the form of government of Argentina. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento stated similar points at Facundo, but noticing that cities were more pervious to those changes while rural areas were more resistant to them, leading to the appearance of caudillos.

Another consequence, also according to the aforementioned historian, was the disintegration of the territories that belonged to the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata in several different territories. Most of the cities composing it had populations, productions, attitudes, contexts and interests of their own. These people were held together by the authority of the Spanish government, but with the disappearance of it, people in Montevideo, Paraguay and Upper Peru began to distance themselves from Buenos Aires. The short duration of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, barely 38 years, failed to forge a patriotic feeling to link them as a common unit. Juan Bautista Alberdi also sees in the May Revolution one of the early manifestations of the power struggles between the city of Buenos Aires and the interior, one of the axes around which revolved the Argentine civil wars. Alberdi wrote in his book "Escritos póstumos" as follows:

The revolution of May 1810, done in Buenos Aires and had to be for only the independence of Argentina from Spain, had also that of emancipating the province of Buenos Aires from Argentina, or rather to impose the authority of their province to the nation emancipated from Spain. That day Spanish power ended and was installed that of Buenos Aires on the Argentine provinces.[87]

Historical perspective

Bartolomé Mitre wrote one of the first historical interpretations of the May Revolution.

Historiographical studies of the May Revolution do not face many doubts or unknown details. Most important details about it were properly recorded at the time, and made available to the public by the Primera Junta as patriotic propaganda. Because of this, the different historical views on the topic differ on interpretations of the meanings, causes and consequences of the events rather than the accuracy of the depiction of the event themselves. The modern historical vision of the revolutionary events do not differ significantly from the contemporary ones.

The first remarkable historiographical school of interpretation of the history of Argentina was founded by Bartolomé Mitre. Mitre regarded the May Revolution as an iconic expression of political egalitarianism, the conflict between modern freedoms and oppression represented by the Spanish monarchy, and the attempt to establish a national organization on constitutional principles as opposed to the leadership of the caudillos.[88]

Meanwhile, Esteban Echeverría epitomized the ideals of May in the concepts of progress and democracy. In future, these concepts would be the axis around which revisionist history would differ from the canonical history in reference to the events of May. The canonical version claimed progress and justify the abandonment or delay the realization of democratic ideals in order not to risk the economic prosperity of society arguing that even then was not able to properly take advantage of political freedom. This situation was known as the establishment of the "Possible Republic."[88]

In the opposite lane, revisionism openly criticized the lack of formation of a true democracy.[88] The historian José María Rosa, for example, asserted that the canonical history portrayed the revolution as the exclusive product of a small sector of the population driven by the desire to trade freedoms and individual liberties, minimizing the involvement of the masses or the desire for independence for independence itself. Rosa also found that the canonical history sought to minimize or conceal the political stances of Manuel Belgrano, presenting him instead only as a military leader.

The figure of Mariano Moreno also led to disputes over his confrontational methods. Some historians see him as the main driver of the revolution, or the government emerging from it, while others relativize his influence. Disparities also exist on his account or not as a Jacobin, the popular uprooting of his positions, or the analyze of his thoughts, his sources or his actions. There's also an alleged document called "Operations plan" setting radical goals and measures for the Junta, and whose authenticity and authorship by Moreno is under high controversy.[89] However, beyond the value judgments of every historian, there is consensus among them in regard to Mariano Moreno as one of the protagonists in May with the most radical revolutionary position and determination.

National homages

Pirámide de Mayo, conmemorative pyramid at Plaza de Mayo.

Currently, May 25 is remembered as a patriotic date in Argentina, with the character of a national holiday. The holiday is set by law 21.329 and it is immovable, meaning it is celebrated exactly on May 25 regardless of day of the week.[90] In the year 2010 will be 200 years of the May Revolution, leading to the Bicentennial of Argentina.

The date, as well as the image of a Cabildo in a generic form, are used in different variants to honor the May Revolution. Two of the most notable are the Avenida de Mayo and the Plaza de Mayo at Buenos Aires, at the latter it was erected the Pirámide de Mayo a year after the revolution, which was rebuilt to its present form in 1856. "May 25" (in Spanish, "Veinticinco de Mayo") is the name of several administrative divisions, cities, public spaces and landforms of Argentina. There are departments under this name in the provinces of Chaco, Misiones, San Juan, Rio Negro and Buenos Aires, the later one holding the Veinticinco de Mayo city. The cities of Rosario (Santa Fe), Junín (Buenos Aires) and Resistencia (Chaco) have eponymous squares. The King George Island is under sovereignty claims of Argentina, Britain and Chile, as part of the Argentine Antarctica, British Antarctic Territory and Chilean Antarctic Territory; with Argentina knowing it as "Isla 25 de Mayo".

A commemorative Cabildo is also used at coins of 25 cents, and an image of the Sun of May on the 5 cents of the current Argentine Peso. An image of the Cabildo during the Revolution was also included the back of the back of banknotes of 5 pesos of the former Peso Moneda Nacional.

In popular culture

The nature of anniversaries of May 25 drives each year the description in children's magazines in Argentina, for example Billiken, as well as textbooks use in primary schools. These publications often omit some aspects of the historical event, as their violence or political content might be considered inappropriate for minors, such as the high arming of the population of that time (following the preparation against the second British invasion) or the class struggle between the Criollos and the Spanish peninsulares. Instead, it focuses on the revolution as an event devoid of violence and that inevitably would have happened one way or another, and the emphasis is on secondary issues such as the weather on 25 and if that day it rained or not, or whether the use of umbrellas was widespread or limited to a minority.[91] It is also presented as archetypal of the revolution the presence of various workers, including a mazamorreros delivering pies among the people in the plaza on May 25. This was reported by the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism as an example of discrimination against black people in Argentina, and therefore requested a reformulation of textbooks facing the academic year 2009.

The events were represented at "La Revolución de Mayo", an early silent films from Argentina, shot in 1909 by Mario Gallo and premiered in 1910, the centenary year. It was the first Argentine fiction film done with professional actors.[92]

Among the songs inspired by the events of May is the "Candombe de 1810". The tango singer Carlos Gardel sang "El Sol del 25", with lyrics by Domingo Lombardi and James Rocca, and "Salve Patria" by Eugenio Cardenas and Guillermo Barbieri. Peter Berruti, meanwhile, created "Gavota de Mayo" with folk music.

Mute film "La Revolución de Mayo".

The revolution of May is also represented on a comic book with scripts by the historian Felipe Pigna along with Stephen D'Aranno and Julio Leiva, and illustrations of Miguel Scenna. It is part of a series of comic books entitled "The comic book Argentina by Felipe Pigna" (making word-games with the words "historia" and "historieta", that stand for "History" and "Comic book"), which also made similar productions on other developments in Argentina's history as the British invasions or the Conquest of the Desert, or biographies of national heroes like Jose de San Martín, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Manuel Belgrano. The comic takes place after the arrival of Cisneros to Buenos Aires until the death of Mariano Moreno at sea. The stage of the Primera Junta is portrayed favorably to Moreno and unfavorable to Saavedra.

Felipe Pigna also directed the TV documentary Algo habrán hecho por la historia argentina, which was intended to recount the highlights of the history of Argentina in a way accessible to the public. For those using a companion to whom he explained the story (Mario Pergolini in the first season) and alternated between explanations from the present explanations in the presence of representatives of times explained, and scenes in which various actors representing specific situations. The revolution of May it was in the first chapter of the first season, and had the cooperation of the actors Ernesto Larrese (Juan José Castelli), Pablo Rago (Mariano Moreno), Gabo Correa (Domingo French), Marcelo D'Andrea (Juan José Paso), Norberto Lasalle (Santiago de Liniers), Fernando Llosa (Cornelio Saavedra), Héctor Malamud (Benito Lue y Riega), Pablo Razuk (Nicolás Rodríguez Peña), Marcelo Savignone (Manuel Belgrano) and Fabiana García Lago (Maria Guadalupe Cuenca), among others.

See also


  1. ^ Moses, Bernard (1926). The Intellectual Background of the Revolution in South America 1810-1824. New York: Order of the trustees. pp. 36, 37. ISBN 978-1-40671-575-0. 
  2. ^ Moses, Bernard (1926). The Intellectual Background of the Revolution in South America 1810-1824. New York: Order of the trustees. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-40671-575-0. 
  3. ^ Abad de Santillán, Diego. "La Revolución de Mayo: Factores convergentes y determinantes" (in spanish). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). pp. 387. 
  4. ^ Brownson, Orestes (1972). American Republic. United States of America: College and University Press Services. p. 85. 
  5. ^ Moses, Bernard (1926). The Intellectual Background of the Revolution in South America 1810-1824. New York: Order of the trustees. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-40671-575-0. 
  6. ^ Luna, Félix (2004). "Una educación ilustrada". Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Manuel Belgrano. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta. pp. 10–14. ISBN 950-49-1247-8. 
  7. ^ Luna, Félix (2004) (in (Spanish)). Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Mariano Moreno. Buenos Aires: La Nación. p. 13. ISBN 950-49-1248-6. "Spanish: Sus actos estaban definidos por los principios de la ilustración, que había incorporado en su ideario durante el curso de sus estudios en la famosa Universidad de Chuquisaca, en el Perú.
    English: His actions were defined by the principles of enlightenment, which he had incorporated into his ideology during his studies at Chuquisaca University in Peru."
  8. ^ Luna, Félix (2001). "La "Fábrica de Minerva"". Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Juan José Castelli. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta. pp. 13–16. ISBN 950-49-0656-7. 
  9. ^ Moses, Bernard (1926). The Intellectual Background of the Revolution in South America 1810-1824. New York: Order of the trustees. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-40671-575-0. 
  10. ^ Mantoux, Paul (2006). The Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century. Great Britain: Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 0-415-37839-7. 
  11. ^ Heckscher, Eli (2006). The Continental System: An economic interpretation. New York: Old Chesea Station. p. 243. ISBN 1-60206-026-6. 
  12. ^ a b Kaufmann, William (1951). British policy and the independence of Latin America, 1804 - 1828. New York: Yale Historical Publications. p. 8. 
  13. ^ The Napoleonic wars: the Peninsular War 1807-1814. Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Limited. 2002. p. 25. ISBN 1-84176-370-5. 
  14. ^ a b The Napoleonic wars: the Peninsular War 1807-1814. Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Limited. 2002. p. 29. ISBN 1-84176-370-5. 
  15. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Las ideas y las armas" (in Spanish). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 28. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: España había demostrado que económicamente no podía ejercer el papel de una metrópoli porque no tenía capacidad para abastecer a sus dominios de las mercaderías necesarias ni podía absorber los productos primarios que aquéllos poducían: sólo una forzada política comercial lograba mantener la hegemonía de los comerciantes de Cádiz.
    English: Spain demonstrated that in the economic field, it could not play the role of a trade capital because it could not afford to supply its lands with the goods they needed or buy the raw materials that they produced: only a forced trade policy managed to keep the hegemony of the merchants of Cádiz."
  16. ^ Abad de Santillán, Diego (1965). "La Revolución de Mayo: Factores convergentes y determinantes" (in Spanish). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). p. 391. "Spanish: Los ingleses tuvieron en las colonias españolas, a pesar del monopolio comercial metropolitano, fuertes intereses: el comercio ilícito se aproximaba en su monto casi al valor del autorizado por España; el contrabando se convirtió en un medio importante de vida para los propios colonos y también para los gobernantes encargados de reprimirlo.
    English: The British had in the Spanish colonies, despite the metropolitan monopoly on commerce, strong interests: legal commerce had amounts near the value of that authorized by Spain; smuggling became an important way to survive for colonials themselves and also for the governors in charge of stopping it."
  17. ^ Abad de Santillán, Diego (1965). "La Revolución de Mayo: Factores convergentes y determinantes" (in Spanish). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). p. 391. "Spanish: aparición de un sector criollo que aguantaba el predominio de los españoles nativos en las funciones públicas, sentimiento que se extendía también al bajo clero.
    English: ...the rise of a criollo sector that endured the predominance of the native Spanish in public office, sentiment shared also by the lower clergy."
  18. ^ a b Moses, Bernard (1926). The Intellectual Background of the Revolution in South America 1810-1824. New York: Order of the trustees. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-40671-575-0. 
  19. ^ Moses, Bernard (1926). The Intellectual Background of the Revolution in South America 1810-1824. New York: Order of the trustees. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-40671-575-0. 
  20. ^ Abad de Santillán, Diego (1965). "Las clases sociales en el período colonial" (in Spanish). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). p. 376. 
  21. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Las ideas y las armas" (in Spanish). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 28. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. 
  22. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Auge y eclipse del carlotismo" (in Spanish). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 20. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: Para unos, la solución de aceptar a Carlota Joaquina como heredera de Carlos IV era una aceptable fórmula de transición hacia una independencia ordenada. Para otros, una simple fachada que era conveniente usar hasta tanto madurasen las condiciones para una ruptura con España. Aunque también se pensaba que proporcionaba los elementos para preservar la fidelidad al rey cautivo.
    English: For some, the solution of accepting Carlota Joaquina as heir to Charles IV was an acceptable formula for an orderly transition to independence. For others, a simple facade that was convenient to use until conditions were ripe for a break with Spain. Although it was also thought to provide the elements to preserve fidelity to the captive king."
  23. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Auge y eclipse del carlotismo" (in Spanish). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 20. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: El carlotismo estaba pues cargado de ambigüedades y equívocos, los que, a la larga, terminaron por debilitarlo como proyecto alternativo. Se sospechaba que tras su formulación se ocultaban apenas el brazo expansionista de Portugal o las apetencias británicas.
    English: Carlotism was then loaded with ambiguities and misunderstandings, which, ultimately, ended up weakening it as an alternative project. It was suspected that behind its formulation was slightly hidden the expansionist arm of Portugal or the British desires."
  24. ^ British Policy and the Independence of Latin America. United States: Yale University Press. 1951. p. 58. ISBN 0714611107. 
  25. ^ Luna, Félix (1994). "La etapa colonial / Las Invasiones Inglesas" (in Spanish). Breve historia de los argentinos. Buenos Aires: Planeta / Espejo de la Argentina. p. 52. 950-742-415-6. 
  26. ^ Luna, Félix (1999). Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Santiago de Liniers. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta. p. 120. ISBN 950-49-0357-6. "Spanish: Pronto llegaron los reconocimientos: en primer lugar el del Rey Carlos IV. Liniers obtuvo el ascenso a brigadier, [...] y finalmente el cargo efectivo de virrey.
    English: The acknowledgements arrived soon: in the first place that of the King Charles IV. Liniers got the promotion to brigadier, [...] and finally the effective office of viceroy."
  27. ^ Luna, Félix (1999). Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Santiago de Liniers. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta. p. 123. ISBN 950-49-0357-6. 
  28. ^ Abad de Santillán, Diego (1965). "Virreyes del Río de la Plata" (in Spanish). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). p. 212. "Spanish: Nada había en la conducta del virrey que se prestase a tergiversaciones, pero no obstante, españoles peninsulares de Buenos Aires y de Montevideo persistieron en sus planes conspirativos contra él, por extranjero y por francés.
    English: There was nothing in the viceroy's conduct that lent itself to misrepresentations, but nevertheless, the peninsular Spaniards of Buenos Aires and Montevideo insisted in their conspiratorial plans against him, for being a foreigner and French."
  29. ^ Luna, Félix (2001). "Las vísperas del estallido". Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Juan José Castelli. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta. pp. 55. ISBN 950-49-0656-7. "Spanish: Algunos criollos, como Mariano Moreno, depositan su esperanza en la asonada alzaguista. Pero el "partido de la independencia" considera que, en la disyuntiva entre Álzaga y Liniers, el más peligroso para sus planes es el jefe del Cabildo.
    English: Some Criollos, like Mariano Moreno, lay their hopes in the Álzaguista riot. But the "Independence party" considered that, in the disjunctive between Álzaga and Liniers, the most dangerous for their plans was the head of the cabildo."
  30. ^ Luna, Félix (2001). "Las vísperas del estallido". Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Juan José Castelli. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta. pp. 55. ISBN 950-49-0656-7. "Spanish: No es una contradicción: la independencia que busca Álzaga es la de los ricos peninsulares, para perpetuar su dominio en Buenos Aires.
    English: It is not a contradiction: the independence that Álzaga seeks is that of the rich Peninsulars, to perpetuate their dominion in Buenos Aires."
  31. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 221. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: Los dirigentes de esta "asonada", como se la llamó y como pasó a la historia, entre ellos el propio Álzaga, fueron detenidos y enviados a la zona de lo que hoy es Carmen de Patagones. Poco después fueron rescatados por Elío y llevados a Montevideo.
    English: The leaders of this "asonada", as it was called and as it was recorded by history, Álzaga himself among them, were detained and sended to the zone that is now Carmen de Patagones. A short time later they were rescued by Elío and taken to Montevideo."
  32. ^ Belgrano, Manuel; Felipe Pigna (2009). Manuel Belgrano: Autobiografía y escritos económicos. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 65. ISBN 978-950-043189-7. 
  33. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. pp. 224. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: En la Banda Oriental, Elío disolvió la Junta de Montevideo y aceptó la autoridad del nuevo virrey, que volvió a armar a las milicias españolas y decretó una amnistía que dejó en libertad a los que habían conspirado contra Liniers.
    English: At the Banda Oriental, Elío dissolved the Junta of Montevideo and accepted the authority of the new viceroy, who rearmed the Spanish militias and decreed an amnesty that set free those who had conspired against Liniers."
  34. ^ Luna, Félix (2004) (in (Spanish)). Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Mariano Moreno. Buenos Aires: La Nación. p. 66. ISBN 950-49-1248-6. "Spanish: Como respuesta a la solicitud de los labradores y hacendados, Moreno escribe la Representación de los Hacendados, el documento sobre economía más completo que se haya redactado en el Río de la Plata.
    English: Responding to the request by farmers and landlords, Moreno wrote the Representation of the Landlords, the most complete economic document written so far in the Río de la Plata."
  35. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. pp. 230. ISBN 987-545-149-5. 
  36. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. pp. 227. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: Ante la posibilidad de que estos sucesos se repitieran, [...] el virrey decidió crear un Juzgado de Vigilancia Política [...].
    English: With the possibility of such events taking place again, [...] the viceroy decided to create a Political Surveillance Court [...]."
  37. ^ Saavedra, Cornelio (2009). Memoria autógrafa. Buenos Aires: Editorial del nuevo extremo. p. 59. ISBN 978-987-609-171-8. "Spanish: No es tiempo, dejen ustedes que las brevas maduren y entonces las comeremos." 
  38. ^ a b c d e Abad de Santillán, Diego (1965). "Chuquisaca y La Paz" (in Spanish). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). p. 398. 
  39. ^ a b "El primer gobierno libre latinoamericano". La Razón. July 16, 2006.  (Spanish)
  40. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. pp. 224, 225. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: El pensamiento, conocido como el "Silogismo de Chuquisaca", será uno de los argumentos de los revolucionarios que se lanzarán a las calles de la ciudad universitaria, el 25 de mayo de 1809, y de La Paz, el 16 de junio.
    English: The thought, known as the "Syllogism of Chuquisaca", was one of the arguments that the revolutionaries put forth in the streets of the university city, on May 25, 1809, and La Paz, on June 16."
      Arnade, Charles W. (1970 [1957]). The Emergence of the Republic of Bolivia. New York: Russell and Russell. 
  41. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. pp. 226, 227. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: Al difundirse la noticia de los horrores de Chuquisaca [...] creció la indignación de los criollos de todo el virreinato, que advertían claramente la conducta del nuevo virrey que premiaba a los sublevados cuando eran españoles [...] y los masacraba cuando eran insurrectos americanos [...].
    English: As news of the horrors of Chuquisaca became known [...] indignation among Criollos grew in all the viceroyalty, who noticed clearly the conduct of the new viceroy that rewarded rebels when they were Spanish [...] and massacred them when they were American revolters."
  42. ^ Pacho O'Donnell. "El Silogismo de Charcas" (in spanish). El Grito Sagrado. Editorial Sudamericana. Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  43. ^ "Semana de Mayo" (in spanish). Efemérides Culturales Argentinas. Ministerio de Educación de la Nación, Subsecretaría de Coordinación Administrativa. 2001. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  44. ^ a b Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 228. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: En un principio, el virrey trató de ocultar las novedades incautándose de todos los periódicos que traía el barco. Pero, según cuenta Mario Belgrano, uno de ellos llegó a manos de Belgrano y Castelli, que se encargaron de difundir la noticia.
    English: In the beginning, the viceroy tried to conceal the news seizing all the newspaper brought by the ship. But, as told by Mario Belgrano, one of them got into the hands of Belgrano and Castelli, who spread the news."
  45. ^ Saavedra, Cornelio (2009). Memoria autógrafa. Buenos Aires: Editorial del nuevo extremo. p. 60. ISBN 978-987-609-171-8. "Spanish: ...Entonces me pusieron en las manos la proclama de aquel día. Luego que la leí, les dije: "Señores, ahora digo que no sólo es tiempo, sino que no se debe perder una sola hora".
    English: ...Then they gave in my hands the band of that day. Upon reading it, I said them: "Gentlemen, now I won't say only that it is time, but also that not a single hour must be wasted"."
  46. ^ Luna, Félix (2001). "El Orador de Mayo". Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Juan José Castelli. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta. pp. 70. ISBN 950-49-0656-7. "Spanish: Castelli y Saavedra, los jefes más notorios de esos días, desecharon el plan de Martín Rodríguez para derrocar a Cisneros por la fuerza.
    English: Castelli and Saavedra, the most notorious leaders of those days, rejected the plan of Martín Rodríguez to depose Cisneros by force."
  47. ^ Abad de Santillán, Diego (1965). "Las jornadas de Mayo de 1810: Divulgación de las noticias sobre el curso de la invasión francesa a España" (in Spanish). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). p. 404. 
  48. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in Spanish). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 229. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: En América española subsistirá el trono de los Reyes Católicos, en el caso de que sucumbiera en la península. (...) No tomará la superioridad determinación alguna que no sea previamente acordada en unión de todas las representaciones de la capital, a que posteriormente se reúnan las de sus provincias dependientes, entretanto que de acuerdo con los demás virreinatos se establece una representación de la soberanía del señor Fernando VII." 
  49. ^ Abad de Santillán, Diego. "Las Jornadas de Mayo de 1810: Del 18 al 21 de mayo" (in spanish). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). pp. 406. 
  50. ^ Saavedra, Cornelio (2009). Memoria autógrafa. Buenos Aires: Editorial del nuevo extremo. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-987-609-171-8. "Spanish: Señor, son muy diversas las épocas del 1º de enero de 1809 y la de mayo de 1810, en que nos hallamos. En aquella existía la España, aunque ya invadida por Napoleón; en ésta, toda ella, todas sus provincias y plazas están subyugadas por aquel conquistador, excepto solo Cádiz y la isla de León, como nos aseguran las gacetas que acaban de venir y V.E. en su proclama de ayer. ¿Y qué, señor? ¿Cádiz y la isla de León son España? Este territorio inmenso, sus millones de habitantes, han de reconocer soberanía en los comerciantes de Cádiz y en los pescadores de la isla de León? ¿Los derechos de la Corona de Castilla a que se incorporaron las Américas, han recaído en Cádiz y la isla de León, que son una parte de una de las provincias de Andalucía? No señor, no queremos seguir la suerte de la España, ni ser dominados por los franceses, hemos resuelto reasumir nuestros derechos y conservarnos por nosotros mismos. El que a V.E. dio autoridad para mandarnos ya no existe; de consiguiente usted tampoco la tiene ya, así que no cuente con las fuerzas de mi mando para sostenerse en ella." 
  51. ^ a b Luna, Félix (2001). "El Orador de Mayo". Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Juan José Castelli. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta. pp. 70. ISBN 950-49-0656-7. 
  52. ^ a b c Buena Ventura Arzac (1810 (original date), 1896). "Buenos Aires, domingo 20 de mayo de 1810 a la una de la noche". La gran semana de 1810. Carlos Casavalle Editor. Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  53. ^ Juan Andrés Pueyrredón (1810). "San Isidro, 21 de mayo de 1810". La gran semana de 1810. Carlos Casavalle Editor. Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  54. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in Spanish). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. pp. 232. ISBN 987-545-149-5. 
  55. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in Spanish). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. pp. 233. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: Parece que don Agustín imprimió unas cuantas tarjetas de más y las repartió entre sus compañeros, que reemplazaron a varios realistas, que no pudieron ingresar.
    English: It seems that mr. Agustín printed many more invitations and distributed them among his teammates, who replaced many royalists, who could not get inside."
  56. ^ Luna, Félix (2001). "El principal interesado quote=Spanish: La misma noche del día 21, Castelli, Martín Rodríguez, Domingo French y Antonio Berutti recorrieron los cuarteles, arengando a las tropas, que a la mañana siguiente, se apostaron en los puntos estratégicos de la Plaza para controlar el acceso al Cabildo.
    English: The same night of the 21 day, Castelli, Martín Rodríguez, French and Beruti visted the barracks, haranguing the troops, who on the next morning, would stake out at strategic points of the Plaza to control the access to the Cabildo.". Grandes protagonistas de la Historia Argentina: Juan José Castelli. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta. pp. 75. ISBN 950-49-0656-7.
  57. ^ a b "Actas capitulares desde el 21 hasta el 25 de Mayo de 1810, en Buenos Aires". Actas Capitulares. Buenos Aires cabildo. 23 May 1810 (original publication). Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  58. ^ Saavedra, Cornelio (2009). Memoria autógrafa. Buenos Aires: Editorial del nuevo extremo. pp. 62. ISBN 978-987-609-171-8. "Spanish: Concurrieron todas las corporaciones eclesiásticas y civiles; un crecido número de vecinos y un inmenso pueblo, don Pascual Ruiz Huidobro y todos los comandantes y jefes de los cuerpos de la guarnición. Las tropas estaban fijas en sus respectivos cuarteles con el objeto de acudir donde la necesidad lo demandase.
    English: All the civil and religious corporations assisted; a grown number of neighbours and a huge population, mr Pascual Ruiz Huidobro and all the commanders and chiefs of the garrisoned bodies. The troops were fixed in their respective barracks with the purpose of marching where the need may demand."
  59. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Los hechos: inquietudes y deliberaciones" (in Spanish). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 32. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: Aunque la idea de que, cesada la autoridad legítima, el pueblo podía recomponerla por su voluntad era relativamente común en la doctrina escolástica española, en la Ilustración y en la filosofía racionalista, hacer de este principio un elemento activo, operativo, era revolucionario.
    English: Even if the idea that, if the legitimate authority was ceased, the population could reconstruct it by its will was relatively commonplace in the spanish scholastic doctrine, enlightenment and the rationalist philosophy, making from this principle an active and operative element was revolutionary."
  60. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Los hechos: inquietudes y deliberaciones" (in Spanish). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 34. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. 
  61. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 234. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: No solamente no hay por qué hacer novedad con el virrey, sino que aún cuando no quedase parte alguna de la España que no estuviese sojuzgada, los españoles que se encontrasen en la América deben tomar y reasumir el mando de ellas y que éste sólo podría venir a manos de los hijos del país cuando ya no hubiese un español en él. Aunque hubiese quedado un solo vocal de la Junta Central de Sevilla y arribase a nuestras playas, lo deberíamos recibir como al Soberano." 
  62. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Los hechos: inquietudes y deliberaciones" (in Spanish). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 32. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. 
  63. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in Spanish). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 236. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: Nadie ha podido reputar por delincuente a la nación entera, ni a los individuos que han abierto sus opiniones políticas. Si el derecho de conquista pertenece, por origen, al país conquistador, justo sería que la España comenzase por darle la razón al reverendo obispo abandonando la resistencia que hace a los franceses y sometiéndose, por los mismos principios con que se pretende que los americanos se sometan a las aldeas de Pontevedra. La razón y la regla tienen que ser iguales para todos. Aquí no hay conquistados ni conquistadores, aquí no hay sino españoles. Los españoles de España han perdido su tierra. Los españoles de América tratan de salvar la suya. Los de España que se entiendan allá como puedan y que no se preocupen, los americanos sabemos lo que queremos y adónde vamos. Por lo tanto propongo que se vote: que se subrogue otra autoridad a la del virrey que dependerá de la metrópoli si ésta se salva de los franceses, que será independiente si España queda subyugada." 
  64. ^ a b Abad de Santillán, Diego (1965). "Las jornadas de Mayo de 1810: El Cabildo Abierto del 22 de mayo" (in Spanish). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). p. 408. 
  65. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Los hechos: inquietudes y deliberaciones" (in Spanish). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 32. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: Era una hábil chicana: aceptarla implicaba perder la enorme ventaja de la oportunidad y postergar el cambio a un tiempo indefinido que podría estar encuadrado por circunstancias muy diferentes.
    English: It was an intelligent trick: accepting it meant losing the huge advantage of opportunity and delay changes up to some undefined time that could very well be marked by very different circumstances."
  66. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 237. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: Juan José Paso: "Dice muy bien el señor Fiscal, que debe ser consultada la voluntad general de los demás pueblos del Virreinato; pero piénsese bien que en el actual estado de peligros a que por su situación local se ve envuelta esta capital, ni es prudente ni conviene el retardo que importa el plan que propone. Buenos Aires necesita con mucha urgencia sea cubierto de los peligros que la amenazan, por el poder de la Francia y el triste estado de la Península. Para ello, una de las primeras medidas debe ser la inmediata formación de la junta provisoria de gobierno a nombre del señor don Fernando VII; y que ella proceda sin demora a invitar a los demás pueblos del Virreinato a que concurran por sus representantes a la formación del gobierno permanente"
    English: Juan José Paso: "Rightly says Mr. Prosecutor, that it must be consulted the general will of the other peoples of the Viceroyalty, but think rather that the current state of threats to its local situation this capital is involved, nor is it prudent or appropriate to delay importing the proposed plan. Buenos Aires is very urgently needed to be covered from the dangers which threaten it, through the power of France and the sad state of the Peninsula. For this, one of the first steps should be the immediate formation of the interim government Junta in the name of Don Fernando VII, and that it proceed without delay to invite other people of the Viceroyalty to their representatives to attend making a permanent government.""
  67. ^ a b Luna, Félix (1994). "1810 y sus efectos / La Revolución" (in Spanish). Breve historia de los argentinos. Buenos Aires: Planeta / Espejo de la Argentina. p. 62. 950-742-415-6. 
  68. ^ a b Abad de Santillán, Diego (1965). "Las jornadas de Mayo de 1810: Divulgación de las noticias sobre el curso de la invasión francesa a España". Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). p. 409. 
  69. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in Spanish). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 237. ISBN 987-545-149-5. 
  70. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 238. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: Hecha la regulación con el más prolijo examen resulta de ella que el Excmo. Señor Virrey debe cesar en el mando y recae éste provisoriamente en el Excmo. Cabildo [...] hasta la erección de una Junta que ha de formar el mismo Excmo. Cabildo, en la manera que estime conveniente.
    English: Made the regulations is the most detailed examination of it is that the Hon. Viceroy should discontinue the command and it falls temporarily in HE. Cabildo [...] until the erection of a Board that has to be the same Hon. Cabildo, in the manner it deems appropriate."
  71. ^ a b c Abad de Santillán, Diego (1965). "Las jornadas de Mayo de 1810: Divulgación de las noticias sobre el curso de la invasión francesa a España" (in (Spanish)). Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires: TEA (Tipográfica Editora Argentina). p. 410. 
  72. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Los hechos: decisión y frustración" (in (Spanish)). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 28. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: Por otra parte, en un evidente esfuerzo por evitar conflictos y suavizar los efectos de su resolución, el cuerpo capitular designó una Junta "de coalición". [...] Era una inteligente solución intermedia, pero el ambiente de Buenos Aires no era propicio para estas vías.
    English: Besides, in a clear attempt to avoid conflicts and smooth the effects of the resolution, the capitular chapter designed a "coalition" Junta. [...] It was an intelligent middle ground solution, but the context of Buenos Aires was not prepared for those ways."
  73. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 238. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: Si nosotros nos comprometemos a sostener esa combinación que mantiene en el gobierno a Cisneros, en muy pocas horas tendríamos que abrir fuego contra nuestro pueblo, nuestros mismos soldados nos abandonarían; todos sin excepción reclaman la separación de Cisneros.
    English: If we pledge to sustain that combination that keeps Cisneros in government, in very few hours we would have to open fire against our people, our soldiers may leave us, all without exception are demanding the separation of Cisneros."
  74. ^ "18 de Mayo - Día de la Escarapela Argentina" (in Spanish). Mercedes, Corrientes: Mi Mercedes. 17/05/2008. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  75. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Los hechos: decisión frustración" (in (Spanish)). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 37. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: Se sabía que el Cabildo rechazaría la dimisión del virrey, y así fue a primera hora.
    English: It was known that the Cabildo may reject the viceroy's resign, and it was so at first hour."
  76. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Los hechos: Decisión y frustración" (in (Spanish)). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 37. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: ...los nombres rubricados de French y de Beruti, cada uno agregando "Por mí y por seiscientos más"." 
  77. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "El triunfo" (in (Spanish)). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 39. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: Las personalidades incluidas representaban con tanta nitidez las fuerzas políticas e ideológicas y los intereses en juego, que no puede suponerse fueron el fruto de una improvisación
    English: The included people represented with so much clarity the involved political and ideological forces and interests at stake, that they can't be considered the fruit of an improvised iniciative."
  78. ^ Luna, Félix (2003). "Los hechos: decisión frustración" (in (Spanish)). La independencia argentina y americana. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 40. ISBN 950-49-1110-2. "Spanish: Con ello se refutan, de paso, las infundadas versiones que de tiempo en tiempo han circulado en nuestra historiografía dando por posible que la Primera Junta haya sido producto de sugerencias británicas. Ni hubo tiempo para hacerlo ni había ningún inglés importante en Buenos Aires como para asumir semejante responsabilidad.
    English: This would refute, incidentally, the unfounded versions that from time to time have circulated in our historiography, considering it being possible for the Primera Junta to be the product of British suggestions. Nor was there time to do so nor any major English in Buenos Aires to take on such responsibility."
  79. ^ Luna, Félix (2004). "Consecuencias de la asonada" (in (Spanish)). Grandes protagonistas de la historia argentina: Mariano Moreno. Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 25. ISBN 950-49-1248-6. "Spanish: El joven abogado sigue fiel a su posición, y sabe que el sector juvenil y republicano del partido patriota lo apoya. Promueve la constitución de una Junta de gobierno autónoma que, enarbolando la máscara de sumisión a Fernando VII, respete la voluntad popular.
    English: The young lawyer remains true to his position, and knows that the young and republican sector of the patriotic party supports him. He promotes the making of an autonomous government Junta that, raising the mask of submission to Ferdinand VII, honours the popular will."
  80. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 243. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: La llamada "Máscara de Fernando" era, contrariamente a lo que muchos creen, un acto de clara independencia. Por aquellos días nadie en su sano juicio podía suponer que Napoleón sería derrotado ni que Fernando volvería al trono español y recuperaría sus colonias americanas. Por lo tanto, prometer fidelidad a un rey fantasma -y no a un Consejo de Regencia existente- era toda una declaración de principios que abría el camino hacia una voluntad independentista que no podía explicitarse por las presiones de Gran Bretaña.
    English: The so-called "Mask of Ferdiand" was, contrary to common belief, a clear independentist act. By those days nobody in his sane mind could asume that Napoleon would be defeated nor that Ferdinand would return to the Spanish throne and retake his american colonies. Thus, to promise fidelity to a ghost king -and not to an existent Regency Council- was a great declaration of principles that paved the way to an independentist will that couldn't be explicited because of British pressures."
  81. ^ Halperín Donghi, Tulio (1999). Historia contemporánea de América Latina (6º ed.). Buenos Aires: Alianza. p. 96. ISBN 950-40-0019-3. "Spanish: ¿Hasta qué punto era sincera esta imagen que la revolución presentaba de sí misma? Exigir una respuesta clara significa acaso no situarse en la perspectiva de 1810. Sin duda había razones para que un ideario independentista maduro prefiriese ocultarse a exibirse: junto al vigor de la tradición de lealismo monárquico entre las masas populares (...) pesaba la coyuntura internacional que obligaba a contar con la benevolencia inglesa.
    English: How much sincere was this image that the Revolution showed about itself? To demand a clear answer means perhaps not understanding the 1810 perspective. Undoubtedly there were reasons why a mature independist ideology would prefer to conceal rather than to exhibit itself: besides the strenght of the monarchic loyalty tradition among the popular masses (...) weighted the international conjuncture that forced to count with the British benevolence."
  82. ^ Saavedra, Cornelio (2009). Memoria autógrafa. Buenos Aires: Editorial del nuevo extremo. pp. 59. ISBN 978-987-609-171-8. "Spanish: A la verdad, quién era en aquel tiempo el que no juzgase que Napoleón triunfaría y realizaría sus planes con la España? Esto era lo que yo esperaba muy en breve, la oportunidad o tiempo que creía conveniente para dar el grito de libertad en estas partes. Esta era la breva que decía era útil esperar que madurase.
    English: At the hour of truth, who was there in that time that did not consider that Napoleon would triumph and make his plans with the Spain? This was what I expected soon, the chance or time I deemed convenient to give the freedom cry in those parts. This was the fig I said it was useful to wait to get rip."
  83. ^ a b British Policy and the Independence of Latin America. United States: Yale University Press. 1951. p. 59. ISBN 0714611107. 
  84. ^ Norberto Galasso (May 19, 2005). "El pueblo quiere saber de qué se trató" (in spanish). La Revolución de Mayo. Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  85. ^ Galasso, Norberto. Interview with Juan Manuel Fonrouge. El deber de reescribir la historia. 2010. November 2009.
  86. ^ Saavedra, Cornelio (2009). Memoria autógrafa. Buenos Aires: Editorial del nuevo extremo. pp. 130, 131. ISBN 978-987-609-171-8. "Spanish: Las Cortes extranjeras y muy particularmente la de Inglaterra, nada exigen, más que llevemos adelante el nombre de Fernando y el odio a Napoleón. En estos dos ejes consiste el que no sea nuestra enemiga declarada. Lea usted la circular que acaba de publicarse en las gacetas de Londres últimamente recibidas (que incluyo). En ella ya ve usted se dice expresamente que la Corte de Inglaterra declara, no se considera obligada por ninguna convención a sostener una parte de la monarquía española contra la otra, por razón de alguna diferencia de opinión que pueda subsistir entre ellas sobre la forma de gobierno, en que deben ser reglados sus respectivos sistemas, a condición que reconozcan su soberano legítimo, y se opongan a la tiranía y la usurpación de la Francia. Luego, si nosotros no reconociésemos a Fernando, tendría la Inglaterra derecho o se consideraría obligada a sostener a nuestros contrarios que lo reconocen, y nos declararía la guerra, del mismo modo que si no detestásemos a Napoleón; y ¿qué fuerzas tiene el pobre virreinato de Buenos Aires para resistir este poder en los primeros pasos de su infancia? ¿O qué necesidad tiene de voluntariamente atraerse este enemigo poderoso y exterior cuando no ha acabado con los interiores que nos están molestando hasta el día? En medio de estas poderosas consideraciones, quiere el libre ciudadano Zamudio se grite al botón, independencia, independencia. ¿Qué se pierde en que de palabra y por escrito digamos Fernando, Fernando, y con las obras allanemos los caminos al Congreso, único tribunal competente que debe y puede establecer, y decidir el sistema o forma de gobierno que se estime conveniente, en que convengan los diputados que lo han de componer?" 
  87. ^ Dómina, Esteban (2003). Historia mínima de Córdoba. Córdoba, Argentina: Ediciones del Boulevard. pp. 84, 85. ISBN 978-987-556-023-9. 
  88. ^ a b c Poli Gonzalvo, Alejandro (2008). Mayo, la revolución inconclusa. Buenos Aires: Emecé Editores S.A.. p. 22. ISBN 978-950-04-3030-2. 
  89. ^ Galasso, Norberto (2004) (in spanish). Mariano Moreno, "El sabiecito del sur". Buenos Aires, Argentina: Colihue. pp. 25–48. ISBN 950-581-799-1. 
  90. ^ Law on general holidays and days off shift (Spanish)
  91. ^ Pigna, Felipe (2007). "La Revolución de Mayo" (in (Spanish)). Los mitos de la historia argentina (26 ed.). Argentina: Grupo Editorial Norma. p. 218. ISBN 987-545-149-5. "Spanish: A lo sumo, el sistema fomenta debates tan trascendentes como la existencia o inexistencia de paraguas en aquellos días de 1810, o sesudos contrapuntos meteorológicos basados en la contradicción marcada por la canción "El sol del 25 viene asomando" y las ilustraciones del Billiken, el Simulcop y el Manual del Alumno, que muestran una plaza indudablemente lluviosa. A esto se pretende reducir, conciente o inconcientemente, el proceso que marcaría a fuego nuestro futuro como Nación.
    English: At the most, the system promotes debates as important as the existence or inexistence of umbrellas in those days of 1810, or weatherish dichotomies based in the contradiction marked by the song "The Sun of the 25 comes rising" and the drawings of Billiken, the Simulcop and the Student's textbook, which show a plaza clearly rainy. To this it is tried to reduce, on purpose or not, the process that would mark with fire our future as nation."
  92. ^ La Revolución de Mayo (Mario Gallo, 1909) (Spanish)

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