Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MUNECAS, Ildefonso de las (moon-yay'-cas), Bolivian patriot, born in Cochabamba, 15 August, 1776" died near Desaguadero, 7 July, 1816. He studied theology in La Paz, and, after being ordained priest, travelled for some time in the Argentine provinces, and afterward in Europe, whence he returned as chaplain to a high official that had been sent to the viceroyalty of Peru. Soon afterward ha was appointed to the parish of the cathedral in Cuzco. He corresponded with his political friends in Bolivia, and when the first revolution of Chuquisaca and La Paz began, ha decided to prepare for a general uprising in Peru. He secretly informed his friends and parishioners of his plans, and forwarded arms and ammunition to the insurgents in upper Peru, but was discovered and arrested. His trial for treason had begun in 1813, when he escaped and joined the cacique Pumakahua (q. v.), who possessed great influence among the natives. Munecas persuaded him to declare for independence, and an uprising of the Indians followed. While Pumakahua with his native army invested Arequipa, Munecas gathered 400 resolute followers and marched toward upper Peru, fomenting" on his march the insurrection in the provinces that he passed. After defeating the Spanish forces at Desaguadero, he provided his followers with the captured arms, and attacked La Paz, which he took after a protracted fight on 24 September, 1814. When the Spaniards received re-enforcements from Peru they soon recovered La Paz and other cities, but Munecas continued a guerilla warfare and soon became a terror to the royalists in the provinces that he occupied. At last he thought himself strong enough to give battle to the Spaniards, but after a desperate fight he was totally routed by Colonel Gamarra in Colola and taken prisoner with many of his followers, who were immediately executed. It was intended to send him to La Paz to be degraded and then hanged, but on the way, near the scene of his former triumph, he was assassinated, according to the patriots, or, according to the Spaniards, killed by the accidental discharge of a gun. A province in Bolivia was named in his honor.
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