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27 two Libertadora, 1822–1827 around the middle of April 1822, Manuela Sáenz embarked on a return trip to Quito. She sailed northward from Callao to Guayaquil—gateway to the Quito Audiencia and, for travelers from Lima, still the quickest, most direct route to the Audiencia’s remote capital. She likely was accompanied by her husband , who probably had business to attend to in the northern port city. Sáenz went on to Quito without him. She no doubt took the old Spanish road by horse and mule, traveling with her servants and perhaps a friend or acquaintance as well as the usual armed escort for safety.1 Patriot forces in the region had helped clear the way for her. Having declared its independence from Spain over a year earlier, Guayaquil had served as the base for a new thrust, led by another patriot ally, General Simón Bolívar and his Colombian army, against the Audiencia’s remaining royalist forces. In late February 1822, General Antonio José de Sucre, Bolívar’s trusted subordinate, had occupied the southern city of Cuenca. Over the next few months, Sucre and his men pushed steadily northward, defeating the enemy at a battle near the town of Riobamba on April 21 and forcing them to continue their retreat toward the capital. They confronted Spanish troops on the steep slopes overlooking Quito and, between May 22 and 24, defeated them decisively at the Battle of Pichincha.2 T4770.indb 27 T4770.indb 27 8/12/08 11:19:10 AM 8/12/08 11:19:10 AM 28 for glory and bolívar Sáenz no doubt thrilled to the news of this successful military offensive and probably arrived in Quito shortly afterward, around the end of May or early June. Like many others in the city, she also must have looked forward to the festivities being planned in honor of the patriot triumph and of the anticipated arrival of the new hero: Bolívar. Her return to Quito in 1822 was her first visit home in five years. It likely was spurred, in part, by a desire to visit her father, a man whose past support for the Crown and hostility toward his creole rivals now made him persona non grata among the city’s new creole patriot authorities. Sáenz de Vergara’s royalism no doubt also left him disinclined to accept the political changes about to be imposed by Sucre and his army. He chose exile and would return to Spain later that year.3 His daughter may well have anticipated this and hoped to see him once more before his departure. She also hoped to satisfy her pending claim to a maternal inheritance. Her aunt, Ignacia Aizpuru, Sáenz’s last surviving maternal relative and sole executor of the Aizpuru estate, apparently refused to acknowledge the claim—at least not at first. She did agree to negotiate, however. As available sources show, she eventually offered to recognize her niece’s right to an inheritance and to pay her a flat cash sum of ten thousand pesos, to be paid within two years and to be secured through liens on two of her haciendas: Chillo and Cotocollao. Sáenz would accept the offer, dropping her original demand for the claim’s full value, as she said, “to avoid lawsuits and differences within the family.”4 Sáenz’s homecoming surely was brightened by the prospect of witnessing the arrival of the now-famous Bolívar. The thirty-nine-year-old native of Caracas was a true blue blood, the descendant of a long line of creole aristocrats. His paternal ancestors had settled in the former captaincy-general of Venezuela in the sixteenth century and, over time and through accumulation of land and slaves, municipal offices and noble titles, had established themselves as members of Caracas society’s wealthiest and most exclusive stratum: the mantuanos. The youngest of four children (two boys and two girls), Bolívar was heir to a vast estate consisting of slave-worked sugar and cacao plantations, indigo fields, cattle ranches, and copper mines. Despite having lost both parents while still a boy, he had benefitted from all the privileges typical of a man of his elite background. He had had access to an education at the hands of tutors, for example, Simón Rodríguez, who had encouraged him to read widely and absorb the latest ideas from the Enlightenment . He had had the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780292793941
Related ISBN
9780292718296
MARC Record
OCLC
311053922
Pages
238
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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