RILAS research seminar, 26 April

Dr Matthew Brown (University of Bristol) will be giving a talk entitled:

‘The Struggle for Power in Post-Independence Colombia and Venezuela’

The Battle of El Santuario, which was fought on mountainous Andean terrain on October 17, 1829, is familiar to many Colombians for the same reason as British imperial history has chosen to pretend it never happened. At El Santuario, the rebel General José María Córdova was defeated by an army in the service of the Gran Colombian government, reporting to the orders of Simon Bolivar. After the battle Córdova lay wounded, when one of the opposing army’s senior officers sought him out and brutally killed him, without explanation, as if carrying out a secret order. The murderer was a British subject, Rupert Hand. His commanding officer was General Daniel O’Leary, who decades later became the British Empire’s highest diplomatic representative in the Republic of New Granada (today, Colombia). The seminar paper will summarise the findings of a recent research project on this subject, engaging with and attempting to explain the reconfiguration of European influence in the region after the end of Spanish colonial power, a subject often ignored by historians: it does so through telling the life stories of those who served at the Battle of El Santuario, from O’Leary and Hand to the local people, including slaves and indigenous men, whom Córdova recruited into his army just days before the battle.

The Seminar begins at 4:00 pm in the LAS Building (86 Bedford St. South) in Lecture Room Three.  Wine Reception to follow. Everyone welcome!