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impressive than those of less notable generals, but the sum of effects was far superior.
Bolivar's occupation of Tunja took the Spaniards by surprise. Barreiro, finding himself unexpectedly cut off from his centre of supplies, fell back upon Venta Quemada, where he was soon followed by his foe, anxious to deal a decisive blow before the royal forces could concentrate. Boyacá, the site now occupied by the hostile armies, was a wooded and mountainous country and one well suited to Bolivar's characteristic tactics. Placing a large part of his troops in ambush and maneuvring so as to get his cavalry in the enemy's rear, he advanced to the attack with a narrow front. On this Barreiro made a furious assault, forcing his opponents to recoil. But this retreat was only a stratagem, for, as they fell back, the Spaniards found themselves suddenly attacked in the flank by the ambushed troops, while the cavalry rode furiously upon their rear.
In a few minutes they were surrounded, and the fierce attack threw them into utter confusion, in which the patriot army cut them down almost without resistance. General Barreiro was taken prisoner on the field of battle, throwing away his sword when he saw that escape was impossible, to save himself the mortification of surrendering it to General Bolivar. Colonel Ximenes, his second in command, was also taken, together with most of the officers and more than sixteen hundred men. All their artillery, ammunition, horses, etc., were captured, and a very small portion of the army escaped. Some of these fled before the battle was decided, but many of them were taken by the peasantry of the surrounding country and brought in as prisoners. The loss of the patriots was incredibly small,—only thirteen killed and fifty-three wounded.
Boyacá—after Maypo, by which Chili gained its freedom—was the great battle of South America. It gave the patriots supremacy in the north, as Maypo had done in the south. New Granada was freed from the Spaniards, and on August 9, two days after the battle, the viceroy, Samana, hastily evacuated Bogota, fleeing in such precipitate haste that in thirty hours he reached Honda, usually a journey of three days. On the 12th Bolivar triumphantly marched into the capital, and found in its coffers silver coin to the value of half a million dollars, which the viceroy had left behind in his haste.
It must be said further that the English auxiliaries aided greatly in the results of these battles, their conduct giving Bolivar such gratification that he made them all members of the Order of the Liberator.
It is not our purpose to tell the whole story of this implacable war, but simply to relate the dramatic invasion and conquest of New Granada. It must suffice, then, to state that the war dragged on for two years longer, ending finally in 1821 with the victory of Carabobo, in which the Spaniards were totally defeated and lost more than six thousand men. After that they withdrew and a republic was organized, with Bolivar for its president.
Two years later he aided the Peruvians in gaining their independence and was declared their liberator and made supreme dictator of the country. After ruling there absolutely for two years, he resigned and gave the country a republican constitution. The congress of Lima elected him president for life, and a new commonwealth was organized in the northern section of Peru, to which the people gave the name of Bolivia, in honor of the winner of their liberties.
HIDALGO THE PATRIOT, AND
THE GRITO DE DOLORES.
In the last quarter of the eighteenth century ideas of revolution were widely in the air. The people were rising against the tyranny of the kings. First in this struggle for liberty came the English colonies in America. Then the people of France sprang to arms and overthrew the moss-grown tyranny of feudal times. The armies of Napoleon spread the demand for freedom through Europe. In Spain the people began to fight for their freedom, and soon the thirst for liberty crossed the ocean to America, where the people of the Spanish colonies had long been oppressed by the tyranny of their rulers.
The citizens of Mexico had been deeply infected by the example of the great free republic of the north, and the seed of liberty grew for years in their minds. Chief among its advocates was a farmer's son named Miguel Hidalgo, a true scion of the people and an ardent lover of liberty, who for years longed to make his native Mexico independent of the effete royalty of Spain. He did not conceal his views on this subject, though his deeper projects were confided only to a few trusty friends, chief among whom was Ignacio Allende, a man of wealth and of noble Spanish descent, and a captain