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VALDES, Geronimo (val-days'), Spanish soldier, born in Villarin, Asturias, in 1784; died in Madrid in 1857. He was finishing his law studies in the University of Oviedo in 1808, when Napoleon forced Charles IV, and Ferdinand VII. to abdicate. Valdes took an active part with his fellow-students in the rising of the principality, being appointed by the provincial junta to organize the Asturian militia. With that body he took part in the whole peninsular campaign against the French, till the retreat of Marshal Soult across the Pyrenees in 1813, obtaining the rank of colonel for his valor in the battle of Albuera, 16 May, 1811. When, after the battle of Waterloo, he saw no prospect of quick promotion in Europe, he solicited transfer to the Peruvian army, and on 8 May, 1816, sailed from Cadiz in the expedition of General Jose de La Serna as adjutant on the general staff. When Serna assumed the command-in-chief of the army of upper Peru, Valdes was ordered to organize the general staff, and took part in the campaign of Salta and the retreat of Jujui. He defended the coast of Arica in 1822 with 3,000 men, and defeated General Alvarado, who had been sent to oppose his progress at Torata, 20 January, 1823, and at Moquegua on 21 January, for which actions he was promoted brigadier. In the following June he marched from Lima with great rapidity, arriving at La Paz in fifty-seven days, and engaged General Santa Cruz at Zepita on 25 August : and, although driven back, he restrained the enemy and was able to effect his junction with Serna. In February, 1824, he was detached against General Olafieta when the latter pronounced against the viceroy, and was occupied in putting down this movement, when. after the battle of Junin, 6 August, 1824, he received orders from Serna to join the main army in Cuzco. He assisted with his division in the battle of Ayacucho. 9 December, 1824, and, executing an able countermarch, fell on the left wing of the patriots under General La Mar, which was already wavering when he was routed by the republican cavalry under General William Miller. After the capitulation of the viceroy, Valdes was transported with the rest of the army to Europe, promoted by the king major-general, and created Viscount of Torata. At the death of Ferdinand VII. in 1833 he was governor of Carthagena, and, after proclaiming Isabella II., he marched to the north as commander-in-chief, taking part in the whole campaign against the Carlists. He was senator for Valencia and captain-general of several provinces with the rank of lieutenant-general until 1840, when he was appointed governor-general of Cuba. During his administration he improved the fortifications of Havana, constructed the military hospital, and subdued a dangerous rising of the negro slaves. He was recalled by the provisional government in 1843, and returned to Europe, where he was made by the young queen Count of Villarin.
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