Born in La Paz in 1792, Andres de Santa Cruz lived through the turbulent times that led to independence across Latin America. He fought to shape the newly established republics, and between 1836 and 1839 he created the Peru-Bolivia Confederation. The epitome of an Andean caudillo, with armed forces at the center of his ideas of governance, he was a state builder whose ambition ensured a strong and well-administered country. But the ultimate failure of the Confederation had long-reaching consequences that still have an impact today. The story of his life introduces students to broader questions of nationality and identity during this turbulent transition from Spanish colonial rule to the founding of Peru and Bolivia.
Natalia Sobrevilla Perea is Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Kent. She has published widely on the political, social and intellectual history of Peru and the Andes and is currently leading a project to digitize nineteenth-century newspapers in regional archives in Peru, funded by the British Library. Dr Sobrevilla Perea was previously a pre-doctoral Fellow and then a lecturer at Yale University.