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Rudecindo Alvarado (1792-1872)

Biographical Information

Alvarado's military and political career possibly experienced greater highs and lows than any other Argentine of his generation. From receiving the highest honors bestowed by Simon Bolívar to fleeing into exile to escape Facundo Quiroga, he was a living example of the great upheaval experienced throughout the region.

Born in the northwestern mountain province of Salta, Alvarado witnessed the May revolution in Buenos Aires. Embracing the republican cause he carried its message back to his native Salta where he joined the fight against the royalist forces. In 1816 he found his way to José de San Martín's side joining the Army of the Andes. Through a series of battles, including Chacabuco, Cancha Rayada, and Maipú, he proved his mettle. Sent to Southern Chile to fight the remaining royalists, he re-crossed the Andes to Mendoza for more troops, then climbed back through the cordillera to put down mutinies in Cuyo.

With Chile under republican control, Alvarado rejoined San Martín in preparation for the Peruvian campaign. San Martín recognized his military and leadership skills and made him commander of the famous Mounted Grenadiers and later named him chief of staff after Lima was occupied in 1820. When San Martín resigned leaving pockets of royalist resistance in the Andes, Alvarado rose to commander of the armed forces. He failed in routing these remaining forces and stepped down when Simon Bolívar arrived on the scene. Bolívar recognized him for his exemplary service to the independence cause.

Alvarado returned to Argentina a hero, receiving accolades and honors for these accomplishments during the independence campaigns. Appointed governor of Salta, he ran afoul of the federalist movement led by Juan Manuel Rosas and fled to Chile where he remained in exile until Rosas was deposed in 1852.

José Justo Urquiza, the leader of the newly formed Argentine Confederation, named Alvarado minister of war and the navy in 1854. He resigned shortly afterward to again become governor of his native Salta where he lived out the remainder of his days.

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Description of Archival Collection
(MSH/SCH 4005-01 to 4005-02, 4007-02, and 202-01 to 202-04)

Letters from Alvarado to Miguel Ambrosio Gutierrez on news of his movements and the situation in the country, January 11, 1813 and describing his latest battlefield success on February 20, 1813 and February 25, 1813.

Letter from Facundo Quiroga to Rudecindo Alvarado asking him to treat with consideration General Félix Aldao, who had fallen prisoner of the forces of General Paz during the war between Unitarians and Federalists. Quiroga also asks for Alvarado's help to give some food to the prisoner, July 28, 1831.

Letters from Juan Antonio Alvarez de Arenales either to Alvarado or about Alvarado in 1825 regarding the ongoing efforts to rout the final Spanish royalists.

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