Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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URDANETA, Rafael, Venezuelan soldier, born in Maracaibo, 24 October, 1789; died in Paris, France, 23 August, 1845. He took part in the revolutionary movement of 1810, on 25 July was appointed lieutenant, and fought in the campaigns of 1811-'12. In 1813, with the auxiliaries of Cundinamarca, he accompanied Bolivar to Venezuela. He entered Caracas on 6 August, after which he was promoted brigadier. In March, 1814, he defended the city of Valencia with a small force against the besieging army of 4,000 men under Ceballos till he was relieved on 3 April by Bolivar. He also took part in the victorious battle of Carabobo, 28 May, 1814, and protected the retreat of the patriot army after the defeat of La Puerta, 15 June. He retired with a remnant of the army to the western provinces, but after being routed at Mucuchies on 7 September he penetrated into New Granada. There he joined Bolivar, and, after being promoted major-general and sent to Cucuta, he was defeated in Balaga in November. 1815, and with the rest of his forces joined Paez in Apure. He was second in command in the operations against Caracas in 1818, being also appointed member of the council of government in Angostura. The next year he was made general-in-chief of the army that was forming in Margarita from the German and British legions and native troops, with which he operated against Cumana and captured Barcelona. In 1821 he obtained the submission of Maracaibo and Coro, and in 1826 was sent to Venezuela, and opposed the plans of Paez, returning to Colombia in 1827 as commander of Cundinamarca. He was also member of the constituent congress of Colombia, and twice secretary of war, occupying, from September, 1830, till April, 1831, the executive of the nation to fill a vacancy. Shortly afterward he returned to Venezuela, where he was successively senator for the province of Coro, governor of Guayana, and twice secretary of war. In 1845 he was sent as minister to Madrid, but he died on his way. --His cousin, Francisco, South American soldier, born in Montevideo, 3 August, 1791; died in Bogota in 1861, entered the military service in his youth, and fought against the British in 1806-'7. In 1809 he was called by his uncle, Martin Urdaneta, to Bogota, where he entered the Spanish service, but he joined the patriot cause in 1810. In 1819 he participated in the campaign of Cauca, becoming in 1820 governor of Popayan, and in 1821 of Antioquia. In 1829 he was promoted major-general. In 1861 he used his utmost efforts to save the lives of the political prisoners in the College of Rosario, and when they were assassinated before his eyes, on 7 March, he retired to his home, where he soon died.
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