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ESPARTERO, Baldomero (espartay'ro), Spanish soldier, born in Granatula, Ciudad Real, 27 October 1793; died in Logrofio, Spain, 8 January 1879. He was the son of a peasant, and destined for the Church; enlisted as a soldier in 1809, and took part: against the French in the battle of Ocafia on 19 November of that year. Afterward he entered the military academy of Isla de Leon, where he was graduated, 12 January 1812, as ensign of engineers, but, failing to pass subsequent examinations, was transferred: and took part in the blockade of Tortosa in 1813. In February 1815, Espartero sailed from Spain, as lieutenant of the regiment of Estremadura, in the expedition against Colombia under General Pablo Murillo. He was ordered to Peru, promoted captain in January 1816, and afterward, in command of a company of sappers, took an active part in numerous encounters with the guerilla chiefs of the insurgents.
He participated in the expedition of the Laguna and the defense of Chuquisaca, 10 and 11 February 1816, and on 1 August 1817, was promoted major. In 1820, while in temporary command of his battalion, at Oruro, he succeeded, by prompt action and personal valor, in quelling a revolt, and thus prevented this important town, with a large deposit of ammunition and arms from falling into the hands of the republicans. For his behavior on this occasion he was promoted lieutenant colonel of his battalion, 20 February 1821. He was brevetted colonel, 23 May 1822, and toward the latter part of the year joined the division of General Valdes, operating in the southern coast districts against the insurgents under General Alvarado. On 19 January when at the head of his battalion, he was the first to take possession, under the enemy's fire, of the heights of Valdivia, where the bloody battle of Torata was fought. Here Espartero, although repeatedly wounded, sustained him against superior forces with great bravery.
On 21 January notwithstanding his wounds received at Torata, he took an active part with his battalion in the operations of Valde's brigade against the enemy's right wing at Moquegua, and on 1 February was promoted by the viceroy to the full rank of colonel. He afterward took part in Valdes's campaign against the northern provinces, and also in the unlucky battle of Zepita. 20 August 1823. In September Espartero was promoted to brigadier general, and soon afterward commissioned by the viceroy, La Serna, to go to, Salta for a conference with the Argentine general, Las Heras, respecting an armistice proposed by the Spanish government. On his return, at the end of January 1824, he was sent to upper Peru to suppress the revolt of General Pedro Olaneta, and on 5 June sailed for Spain, to explain and justify La Serna's conduct in making rapid promotions, which had been the cause of Olafieta's disaffection.
He had a long audience with Ferdinand VII, and was so skilful in his representations that all the acts of La Serna were approved, and Espartero himself appointed chief of the general staff of the army of Peru. He arrived in the port of Quilca, 4 May 1825, after the overthrow of the Spanish dominion in Peru and was arrested by the republican authorities, but found metros to throw overboard the crucial correspondence entrusted to him. He was sent as a prisoner to Arequipa, and it was generally believed that he would be shot in reprisal for the execution of republicans, but he was subsequently released, and returned to Spain in 1825. He did not enter active service again till 1830, when he was made chief of the regiment of Soria.
He favored the succession of Isabella II to the throne, and the appointment of Queen Christina as regent., and at the beginning of the civil war, after the death of Ferdinand VII, 29 September 1833, he was made commander-in-chief of the province of Biscay, and afterward lieutenant general, in his operations against the Carlists he displayed energy mid ability, and was appointed general-in-chief of the army of the north, viceroy of Navarre, and captain general of the Basque provinces. After new victories, early in 1839, he was created a grandee of the first class, with the title of Duke of Victoria and Morella.
In August 1839, he concluded with the Carlist general Maroto the convention of Vergara ; Don Carlos left the country, and Cabrera, the only Carlist general remaining in arms, was defeated by Espartero in the same year. Queen Christina endeavored to strengthen her government by placing Espartero at the head of the ministry; and when, in 1841, she was compelled to resign the regency, the Cortes appointed him regent. During his administration he suppressed various insurrections; but, notwithstanding his energy, a revolutionary junta assembled at Bareelona in 1843, declared that the queen had attained her majority, and, when Narvaez entered Madrid at the head of an army, Espartero was forced to retire to England, where he resided until 1847. He was then restored to his honors, and lived in Logrono in retirement till 1854, when he was placed by Isabella at the head of the ministry, but resigned in July 1856. After the expulsion of Isabella in 1868 he supported the provisional government, and in 1870 several members of the Cortes offered him the crown of Spain, but he declined it on the ground of his great age and want of heirs. He was afterward created prince of Vergara.
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