Republic of North Peru

The Republic of North Peru was one of the three constituent Republics of the short-lived Peru–Bolivian Confederation of 1836–1839.

Republic of North Peru
República del Norte del Perú
North Peru within the Peru–Bolivian Confederation
North Peru within the Peru–Bolivian Confederation
• 1837–1838
Luis José de Orbegoso
• 1838–1839
José de la Riva Agüero
• Established
11 August 1836
• Disestablished
25 August 1839
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Today part ofPeru

North Peru was formed from the division of the Republic of Peru into the Republic of North Peru and the Republic of South Peru. These two Republics were founded in 1836 to be (with the Republic of Bolivia) constituent Republics of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation.

The Confederation came to an end three years later after continuous border wars with Argentina and Chile in the War of the Confederation, and after a chaotic civil conflict between north and south Peruvians. In August 1839, Agustín Gamarra declared the Confederation dissolved; as a result, South Peru and North Peru reverted to being a unified Republic of Peru.


The Peru-Bolivian Confederation was a plan that attempted to reunite the Alto Perú ("Upper Peru", now Bolivia) and Bajo Perú ("Lower Peru", now simply Peru) into a single political and economic entity. Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz promoted an ambitious project to reunite these two territories on the basis of a confederacy. This integration was based not only on historical, cultural and ethnic reasons but also on sound economic motives. The union was trying to restore the ancient commercial routes and promote a policy of open markets.

As President of Bolivia, Santa Cruz instigated several failed plots to achieve a political union with Peru, taking advantage of that country's chronic political unrest. His best opportunity came in 1835 when the Peruvian President General Luis José de Orbegoso requested his assistance to fight the rebel armies of Generals Agustín Gamarra and Felipe Santiago Salaverry. Santa Cruz defeated Gamarra at the Battle of Yanacocha on 13 August 1835 and Salaverry at the Battle of Socabaya on 7 February 1836.

With Bolivian help, General Orbegoso quickly regained his leadership throughout the country and had Salaverry summarily executed. In retribution to the support he received from Santa Cruz, he acceded to the formation of the new Peru–Bolivian Confederation. Santa Cruz assumed the Supreme Protectorship of the confederation and Orbegoso maintained only the presidency of the newly created Republic of North Peru.


At the instigation of Santa Cruz, a Congress of the Peruvian northern departments (Amazonas, Junín, La Libertad, and Lima) gathered at Huaura founded the Republic of North Peru on 11 August 1836. Then, together with South Peru, they recognized Santa Cruz as Supreme Protector with extensive powers that enabled him to create the Peru-Bolivian Confederation on 28 October. Santa Cruz then summoned to the city of Tacna representatives of both legislatures together with those of the Bolivian Congress assembled at Tapacarí, to establish a Constitution for the new state. Under his direction, they signed a pact on 1 May 1837 which named him Supreme Protector for a ten-year period.

Structure of the republicEdit

There was, from 1837 until the dissolution, a provisional president and a congress, both with limited powers and under the control of Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz who was styled the supreme protector.

  • First president: General Luis Orbegoso (21 August 1837 – 30 July 1838). He declared secession of the Republic of North Peru from the Peru-Bolivian Confederation on 30 July 1838 but continued as Provisional President until 1 September 1838
  • Second president: General José de la Riva Agüero (11 August 1838 – 24 January 1839)

Development and dissolutionEdit

Invested with considerable powers, Santa Cruz endeavoured to establish in Peru the same type of authoritarian order he had imposed in Bolivia. He issued civil code, a penal code, a trade regulation, customs regulation and reorganized tax collection procedures allowing an increase in state revenues while restraining expenditures.

However, the Confederation generated resistance among several groups in both countries, which resented the dilution of national identities, and also among neighbouring countries. An important number of Peruvian politicians opposed to the idea of the Confederation fled to Chile where they received support and this led to the War of the Confederation.

Chile declared war on 28 December 1836 and Argentina followed suit on 9 May 1837. The Chilean military expedition against Santa Cruz, led by Admiral Manuel Blanco Encalada failed, and he had to submit to signing the Treaty of Paucarpata, on 17 November 1837. The Chilean government then organized a second expedition, which defeated the Supreme Protector at the Battle of Yungay on 20 January 1839 and forced the dissolution of the Confederation.

On 25 August 1839 General Agustín Gamarra after assuming as president of Peru, officially declared the dissolution of the Confederation and of the merging of the Northern and Southern Peruvian Republics into one to be called again Peru and separated from Bolivia.

See alsoEdit