Bolivian Independence 101: Heroines of the Coronilla

Jose Alberto Diez de Medina writes in El Diario:

Heroines of the Coronilla

Jose Alberto Diez de MedinaAfter the September 14, 1810, when the people of Cochabamba rose up against the Spanish yoke, demanded for a Town Meeting, constituting a War Council, chaired by the patriot Francisco de Rivero and Esteban Arze, among others, on October 17, same year, this Council sent a detachment of 1,000 men led by Esteban Arze, to the city of Oruro, in order to secure the Oruro upheaval, obtaining a reinforcement of 500 men.

Arze on his way to the city of La Paz faced the royal forces at Aroma fields, defeating, and pursuing the enemy to Viacha.

The triumph was great, commented even in Buenos Aires, where the newspaper The Gazette of that city, published an editorial saying, “The High Peru will be free because Cochabamba wants it.”

Encouraged by the triumph of Aroma, Cochabamba troops harassed in the Desaguadero, the royalist army, under bloodthirsty Spanish General Jose Manuel de Goyeneche, winner in Guaqui before the Argentine auxiliary armies.

General Goyeneche left Oruro towards the city of Cochabamba, with a strong army of 6,000 men.

The patriotic troops marched through Arque and Tapacari, resulting in the disastrous battle in the fields of Hamiraya, on August 13, 1811.
Goyeneche occupied the city of Cochabamba, naming the relevant royal authorities, continuing their advance towards Potosi.

No sooner Goyeneche left Cochabamba, Esteban Arze at the head of their Montoneros occupied the city again, naming Governor Mariano Antezana, a notable patriot.

Goyeneche, knowledgeable in Potosi of the patriot’s retaking of the city of Cochabamba, suspended his plans to invade the Argentinian provinces. And with 4,000 men passed through Chuquisaca, enroute to Cochabamba, willing to definitely annihilate the patriotic reactions in that city.

On May 24, there was the battle of Kewinal where realistic artillery swept the patriots. Goyeneche, approached the city, where a delegation of representatives of this city, offered an honorable capitulation, however the general populace rioted, offering armed resistance.

On the 27th, Goyeneche was surprised as he entered a surrendered city, being greeted with barrages from the hill of San Sebastián.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 10.57.15 AMGoyeneche ordered the attack with three columns advancing up the hill, there was a fight for three hours, the hill can not be taken, namely La Coronilla, which to the surprise of the Spanish forces was defended mostly by women: wives, mothers and daughters of Cochabamba fighters.

During combat the reckless courage was experienced of the sacrificed Cochabamba women, which finally fell to the superiority and discipline of the royal forces, that entered the city authorized to looting, rape and killing.

Goyeneche sword in hand persecuted people seeking asylum in the temples of the city.

The courageous women crown were led by Dona Manuela Gandarillas, Cochabamba great patriot.

The next day they were prosecuted and convicted the representatives of the city and were later shot, being the first one, Don Mariano Antezana.

Bolivia Bolivarian Society. Founded in 1926.

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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