239th anniversary of the birth of the national hero Martín Miguel de Güemes

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"I do not pretend neither glories nor tributes, I only work for the freedom of my homeland" - Martín Miguel de Güemes

Martín Miguel Juan de Mata Güemes was born on February 8, 1785 in the city of Salta. He was a military man and hero of the national liberation for his outstanding participation together with Generals José de San Martín and Manuel Belgrano, for the Argentine and American independence. He was the only Argentine General killed in war action in the historical epic of the emancipation of the American continent.

He studied at the San Carlos School in Buenos Aires, but at the age of 14 he joined the army, as a cadet in the 3rd Battalion of the King's Company, Fixo de Buenos Aires. His military performance was notorious in the English invasions of 1806 and 1807. He acted in the Quebrada de Humahuaca and participated directly and decisively in the triumph of Suipacha (1810). He was a member of the Army of the North during the Wars of Independence and fought in Upper Peru.

In Salta, Güemes organised the gauchos to defend the northern frontier during the War of Independence. It was San Martín who appointed him as commander of the Río Pasaje outpost at the head of the Salta militia, who, after their first triumph, was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the army. Güemes was the leader of the so-called Gaucho War, defending the country from the royalist invasions from Salta and Jujuy.

Distinguished for his courage and patriotism, Güemes took on positions of great responsibility. On May 6, 1815, the Cabildo of Salta appointed him "Governor of the Intendencia de Salta", formed by the current provinces of Salta, Jujuy and the Bolivian region of Tarija. His mandate was marked by the continuous war against the Spanish invaders.

In 1820 San Martín sent him the dispatches of General in Chief of the Army of Observation over Peru. Without the support or help of other provinces, Güemes fought numerous royalist invasions coming from Upper Peru.

It was the invasion of Colonel José María "Barbarucho" Valdez, who had been commissioned by the royalist general Pedro Antonio de Olañeta - who had the support of the local opposition - that ended the life of the general from Salta. On 7 June 1821, 400 infantrymen invaded the city of Salta and Güemes, the leader of the Infernales, was wounded in the back. Ten days later and only 36 years old, the General lost his life on 17 June 1821. His legacy of bravery and resistance lives on in the history of our country.

On 2 August 2006, Law Nº 26.125 was passed, declaring General Martín Miguel de Güemes a "National Hero". Since that year, every June 17th, the anniversary of his passing to immortality is commemorated due to the importance he had for the Argentine independence.


239th anniversary of the birth of the national hero Martín Miguel de Güemes