Republic of South Peru

The Republic of South Peru (Spanish: República Sud-Peruana) was one of the three constituent Republics of the short-lived Peru–Bolivian Confederation of 1836–39.

Republic of South Peru
República Sud-Peruana
March 17, 1836–August 25, 1839
Flag of South Peru
Coat of arms of South Peru
Coat of arms
South Peru within the Confederation
South Peru within the Confederation
• 1837–1838
Ramón Herrera y Rodado [es]
• 1838–1839
Juan Pío de Tristán y Moscoso
• Established
March 17, 1836
• Disestablished
August 25, 1839
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Today part ofPeru

South 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 the two territories on the basis of a confederacy. The 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 Orbegoso requested his assistance to fight the rebel armies of Generals Agustín Gamarra and Felipe Santiago Salaverry. Santa Cruz defeated Peruvian caudillo Gamarra at the Battle of Yanacocha [es] on August 13, 1835, and Salaverry at the Battle of Socabaya [es] on February 7, 1836.

With Bolivian help, 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 southern departments (Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cuzco, and Puno) gathered at Sicuani and declared the establishment of South Peru on March 17, 1836. Together with North Peru, they recognized Santa Cruz as Supreme Protector with extensive powers that enabled him to create the Peru–Bolivian Confederation on October 28, 1836.

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 May 1, 1837, which named him Supreme Protector for ten years.

Structure of the republicEdit

Departments of South Peru
Golden coins of 8 escudos of the Republic of South Peru. The left is the reverse side with the coat of arms of the Peru–Bolivian Confederation and the right is the head side, with the image of Sacsayhuamán, the symbol of 8E (8 Escudos) and the state motto: "Firme por la Unión".

From 1837 to its dissolution were 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.

Administrative divisionsEdit

South Peru was divided into five departments which in turn were divided into provinces, and these into districts.

On its foundation it consisted of four departments with their capitals in the cities of the same name. A fifth, Litoral, was added in 1837 with its capital at Tacna.

  1. Arequipa Department
  2. Ayacucho Department
  3. Cuzco Department
  4. Litoral Department
  5. Puno Department

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 a civil code, a penal code, a trade regulation, a customs regulation and procedures for reorganizing tax collection, which allowed an increase in state revenues and reduced expenditures.

However, the Confederation generated resistances among several groups in both countries that resented the dilution of national identities and by neighbouring countries. Many 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 December 28, 1836, and Argentina followed suit on May 9, 1837. The Chilean military expedition against Santa Cruz, led by Admiral Manuel Blanco Encalada, failed and had to submit to the signature of the Treaty of Paucarpata [es], on November 17, 1837.

The Chilean government then organized a second expedition, which defeated the Supreme Protector at the Battle of Yungay on January 20, 1839 and forced the dissolution of the Confederation. When Agustín Gamarra took office as the new president of Peru on August 25, 1839, he officially declared the dissolution of the Confederation and of the merging of the Northern and Southern Peruvian Republics into a single state, again called Peru, and separate from Bolivia.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit