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Gavino Gainza

GAINZA, Gavino (gah-een'tha), Spanish soldier, born in Biscay about 1760; died in Mexico about 1824. He came to Peru in 1784 as officer of the regiment of Estremadura, and in 1809 was colonel of the regiment of Lima. He became brigadier-general in 1813, and in 1814 became commander-in-chief of the Spanish forces of the South of Chili, against the Independents. One of his officers, Ildefonso Elorreaga, occupied Tacna on 14 March. Instead of marching on Santiago, which road was open to him and undefended, he lost time trying to prevent the juncture of the forces of O'Higgins with Colonel Mackenna. He was defeated by the former, and found himself in a perilous position, when the British commodore, Hillyar, offered his mediation, and the treaty of Lircay was finally signed, by which the Chilians recognized Ferdinand VII, and the council of regency during his captivity, under the condition that the Spanish troops should evacuate Chilian territory within thirty days. The viceroy disapproved of this treaty, and ordered the arrest of Gainza, and his transportation to Lima, where he remained a prisoner till his case was brought before a court-martial, 27 May, 1816. Sentence was pronounced on 14 June, ordering him to be put at liberty and to proceed to Spain, to await the disposition of the minister of war. After the promulgation of the constitution of 1820 he was sent as sub-inspector of the army to Guatemala. The Spanish majority of the provincial assembly there induced the feeble Captain-General Urrutia to resign, and appointed Gainza in his place in March, 1821. When the news of the declaration of the independence of Mexico by the plan of Iguala, 24 February, 1821, arrived, Gainza, convinced that it was impossible to resist public opinion, and trying to save the province for Spain, convoked a meeting of all the authorities and delegates from the municipalities for 15 September, 1821. After long debate, the independence from Spain was proclaimed, and Gainza was intrusted temporarily with the supreme command. He afterward favored the annexation of Guatemala to Mexico, and went to that country to live.

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