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Bill Thayer

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Antonio José de Sucre
(Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho)

Hero and Martyr
American Independence

A Sketch of his Life
Guillermo Antonio Sherwell

[image ALT: missingALT. He is Antonio José de Sucre, South American revolutionary and patriot.]

Antonio José de Sucre,
Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho,
from a Painting by Arturo Michelena.
The Original is in the Senate of Bolivia.

The Author and the Book

Guillermo Antonio Sherwell (1878‑1926) was a Mexican-American legal scholar and educator active in inter‑American organizations: a fair capsule of his life is given by his obituary in Hispania, the journal of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish.

In his biography of Sucre, as the author himself explicitly admits in his preface, the reader should not expect a work of scholarship. I might even say that in a sense the book is not even a full biography, since large swaths of the man's life remain untouched: for example, his childhood is summarily glossed over; and close personal friends are mentioned without so much as being identified. More importantly, the author states that his purpose in writing the book "is to render homage" to the man: and although there is general agreement Sucre led an unusually decent life, certainly by the standards to which high political and military figures have accustomed us — the approach is uncritical, and the reader should beware.

The work is inscribed,

To Venezuela —

who gave Miranda, Bolívar and Sucre to America; who gave her blood without stint for the freedom of her sisters; who now cultivates the arts of peace, and amid the monuments of her mighty traditions prepares her soul for a future still greater than her past —

This book is dedicated.

Table of Contents





The Training of a Hero


A Diplomat with a Soul


The Making of a Commander-in‑Chief. The Battle of Yaguachi, August 19, 1821


The Battle of Pichincha, May 24, 1822, Sucre, The Father of Ecuador


Sucre in Lima and Callao. Chaotic Conditions in Peru


The Campaign of Southern Peru. A Masterful Retreat


Battle of Junín, August 6, 1824. The Beginning of the End


A Misunderstanding


Struggles and Intrigues


Battle of Ayacucho, December 9, 1824. End of the American Wars for Independence


Generosity and Honors


Bolivia. The Creation of a Country


Sucre, the Victim of Ingratitude


Sucre's Farewell Message


The Dissolution of Colombia


The Death of Abel


A Masterful Summary from a Masterful Pen


Sucre's Message




Table of Illustrations

Antonio José de Sucre, by Michelena


La Libertad (Pichincha) Hill


The Monument to Pichincha


The Statue of Sucre in Quito


Pizarro's Banner (Front)


Pizarro's Banner (Back)


Banner of Upper Peru


Sucre's Tomb in Quito


Painting of Sucre by Tovar y Tovar


Map to follow Sucre's Life

End of Book

Technical Details

Edition Used

The edition followed in this transcription was the first and possibly the only edition, published by the Press of Byron S. Adams, Washington, D. C., 1924. It is copyright 1924 by Guillermo A. Sherwell. That copyright, however, was not renewed in 1951 or 1952 as then required by law in order to be maintained. The work is thus in the public domain: details here on the copyright law involved.


The book's illustrations are generally tipped in to accompany the text, with a few exceptions, which I've sometimes moved a little. Their original placement is given in the table above; the links are of course to their actual location in my Web transcription.

The map at the end of the book is a special case. It opens on its own page, in a separate window. For readability, I've colorized it following my usual scheme.

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

My transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree; a red background would mean that the page had not been proofread. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The printed book was very well proofread. The inevitable typographical errors are all trivial; I've marked them with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

A number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic ‑‑> in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

[image ALT: A head-and‑shoulders oil portrait of a young man with curly hair in a 19c military uniform. He is Antonio José de Sucre, and the image serves as the icon on this site for 'Antonio José de Sucre' by Guillermo Antonio Sherwell]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is a crop of a color photograph of the frontispiece portrait of Sucre. The color scheme of most of the pages is as you see here, a blue background to match the flag of Gran Colombia (and the modern flags of Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador) as does the runner down the left side; but since Chapters 12‑14 entirely concern Bolivia, the color scheme on those pages uses a green background to match the flag of that country, as does the runner.

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Site updated: 21 Dec 17