Today, July 28, 2021, is the Bicentennial of the declaration of independence of Peru at the hands of General San Martín.  This event is historically very relevant, as it marked the beginning of the birth of the Republic of Peru, a colony which offered more “royalists” who were resistant to independence.

El general San Martín
General San Martín

That declaration of independence was followed by a long campaign that didn’t end until 1826, thanks to Simón Bolivar, who not only helped Peru become a country, but also helped transform “Upper Peru” in to the core of what is today Bolivia.

Con la caída de la fortaleza de Callao, el último bastión realista, en enero de 1926 finaliza la guerra de independencia de Perú (plano de su sitio por tierra y mar)
With the fall of Callao Fortress, the last royalist bastion, in January 1826, the Peruvian War of Independence drew to a close (map of its location from land and sea)
A Collection of Articles

This date has inspired the Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea, the Hermandad de Nuestra Señora de Aránzazu de Lima, the Editorial Archive at Oiga Magazine, and the Euskadi Munduan Association, which is responsible for the About Basque Country blog, to compile a series of articles sharing different viewpoints on the independence processes of the different New World Republics born of the Spanish colonies.  The goal is to project the unique vision of the Basques regarding the how and why of this extraordinary social, political, and economic change that took place throughout the first third of the 19th century, and which was rounded off with the independence of the Republic of Cuba, at the beginning of the 20th century.

To this end, we’ve asked distinguished people from Latin America and the Basque Country to write articles that reflect their viewpoints and thoughts on these independence processes, and the contributions different people had to try to build a new history for new homelands.

We’ve also asked all the eusko etxeak recognized by the Basque Government to send us their greetings on this bicentennial, in which they also share their feelings as Basques living in those countries, and what they believe about how the New World republics arose.

An Open and Collaborative Project

We are not only looking for academic articles about the historical events that gave rise to the emancipation of these new republics.  We’re also, quite especially, looking to find the contributions of the Basque community that narrate the role of our compatriots throughout the process that started with the creation of the first Basque organizations in the Spanish colonies, and how they contributed to the birth of these new nations, and what work their descendants in the Americas are doing now.

This is an open and collaborative project and all are invited to participate.  All contributions will be appreciated.

In this project, apart from the articles regarding the republics born out of the former Spanish colonies, we would also like to have representatives from the United States and from the Philippines.

We wish to include the United States for the enormous influence its own independence process had, from our point of view, on the rest of the Americas, as well as its major roles in the independence of Cuba and the Philippines.

Moreover, the Philippines seems to us to be equally important thanks to its close relationship with the Americas during the colonial period, as well as its unique route to independence.  This is even more important because the Philippines, along with Cuba, were the first places Basques from the Southern Basque Country, after the abolition (by force of arms) of the foral regime that had exempted them from military service, were made to fight as troops in the Spanish army against those fighting for independence.

We will be publishing these articles regularly with the tag “Bicentennial of the New World Republics” in the next few months.

Later, these will all be compiled into a digital publication that can be downloaded free of charge on the blog.  The publication will be under the masthead of the Oiga Journalistic Publishing House, a renowned Peruvian political analysis journal that was founded and run by Basque-Peruvian journalist Paco Igartua, a Peruvian and a Basque who was deeply committed to both nations and carried them in his heart.

A Challenge We Accept

We are aware that this is an important challenge for us.  Nevertheless, we are sure that it will be worth it to share these reflections and insights into our own history, especially in this day and age, when throughout the New World, political and social changes in which populisms of all stripes try to present themselves as the solution to a situation in which an endemic lack of social justice and development, caused by an elite that have not allowed society to develop equally, are taking place.

We’re convinced that there are no easy shortcuts to fixing this situation.  The freedom of nations and peoples is only achieved with freedom, social justice, and respect for human rights and true democracy.  This is what Lehendakari Aguirre, who had to fight against populism and totalitarianism in his struggle for the freedom of the Basque People, knew and understood so well.