Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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OLANETA, Pedro Antonio de (o-lan-yay'-tah), Spanish soldier, born in Biscay about 1770" died in Tumusla, Bolivia, 2 April, 1825. He was the son of poor laborers, and emigrated when he was seventeen years old to South America, where he traded for some time in the provinces of Potosi, Juijui, and Salta, and, after acquiring a small fortune, obtained a commission in the local militia of Potosi. When in 1811 the army of the Argentine Independents marched against upper Peru, he offered his services to the authorities, and took part in the campaign under General Jose Goyeneche as major. In 1813 he served under Pezuela as colonel, taking part in the battles of Villapujio and Ayohuma, and later he was commander of a brigade, with which he defeated General Rondeau at Viluma. 29 October, 1814, and was promoted brigadier. In November, 1816, La Serna took the chief command, and, together with the officers of the regular army, began to annoy the provincial militia chiefs. When, by a military revolution in 1821, the former was appointed general-in-chief and viceroy, these hostilities led nearly to an open rupture, Olaneta, as commander of Potosi, meeting La Serna's orders with resistance. But when Santa Cruz, with the independent forces from Peru, approached, Olaneta effected a junction with La Serna, on 14 September, 1823, and obliged Santa Cruz to retire to the coast. He was then promoted major-general, and appointed president and commander-in-chief of upper Peru. His opposition to La Serna and his ad-risers continued, and when, toward the end of the year, they recognized and proclaimed the liberal constitution of Spain, Olaneta disapproved the measure. When he heard later that Ferdinand VI I. had declared the constitution abolished, 1 October, 1823, he did not wait for instructions from Spain, but pronounced in open rebellion against the viceroy in La Paz, 15 January, 1824. occupied Potosi, and on 4 February issued a proclamation declaring the reestablishment of the absolute authority of Ferdinand VII. and the independence of upper Peru from the viceroyalty. On 8 February he occupied Chuquisaca, and there the patriots, feigning to be his ardent sympathizers, instigated him to open hostilities against La Serna. The latter sent a force to oppose his progress, but on 9 March an agreement was made, by which Olaneta was to be left undisturbed in his province, and to give a monthly tribute and some auxiliary troops to La Serna. But this agreement was never kept, and when the forces of the viceroy were concentrated against the independents, Olafieta left them without help. When the battles of Junin, on 6 August, and Ayacucho, on 9 December, were lost by the Royalists, Olafieta refused to accept the terms of capitulation, and gathered his forces with the hope of reaching the south of Chili and making there a last stand for the royal cause. While he was in Tumusla, hearing that one of his battalions had pronounced for independence, he left the town to subdue them. A bloody engagement followed, and Olaneta was shot by one of his own soldiers, dying the same day of his wound. Olaneta has been unjustly accused of selling himself to the Independents, but this extraordinary man was, by his harsh and arbitrary nature, a stanch supporter of absolutism, and the king appointed him captain-general and viceroy of La Plata, which commission arrived after his death, on 27 May, 1825.
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