General San Martin
Buenos Aires City Tours

Buenos Aires City Tour takes you to the monument of General Jose de San Martin in Barrio Retiro, presents his short biography, facts and many pictures.

Page 2

   Don José de San Martin (1778-1850) was born in the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata (today Argentina).

    Most of his early life he spent in Spain where he achieved an exceptional military career “polished” during wars against Napoleon and British invasions as well as against Moors in African campaign.

Then, something happened in his life, possibly inspired by the successful North American war for independence he decided to renounce the Spanish service and privileges.

Subsequently he joined South American revolutionary movements against the Spanish monarchy. Thanks to his enormous military experience as well as his virtues and integrity, he became the victorious commander of the revolutionary army.

Working closely with such commanders and political figures like O’Higgins, Simon de Bolivar and generals Mitre, Belgrano and Heras he helped to liberate from the colonial power several South-American provinces later known as Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador.. 

Above and below: Mausoleum of General Jose de San Martin in the Buenos Aires' Cathedral (Plaza del Mayo) 

His “lightning-speed” crossing of Andes with few thousands of infantry and artillery troops has been compared to the legendary crossing of the Alps by Carthaginian army under Hannibal’s command.

After the final victory over royalists he renounced political power and career, exiling to France where he died in 1850. In 1880 his remains were brought from France to Argentina for the final rest in the Buenos Aires’ Cathedral (Plaza del Mayo) with Generals Juan de las Heras and Tomás Guido on his side.

You can visit the place of General San Martin's eternal rest by following the link: Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral

         General José de San Martin is considered a national hero in most of Latin American countries. And no wonder - monuments glorifying his life and military achievements are dotting the South-American landscapes.

The monument on the Plaza San Martin commemorating General José de San Martin is the work of the French sculptor Louis-Joseph Daumas. Erected in 1862 it is the oldest equestrian statue in Argentina. In the 20th century the monument was significantly modified by adding a massive red-marble base and five allegorical sculptures – work of the German artist Gustavo Eberlein.

Engraved plaques on the sides of the base illustrate the decisive moments from the Independence Wars. 

        Engraved plaques on the sides of the base illustrate the decisive moments from the Independence Wars – crossing Andes, proclamation of the independence for Peru, battle of Salta and the capture of Montevideo (Uruguay).

The sculpture of the General on horseback pointing his hand towards Cordilleras (Andes) in a gesture symbolically indicating his path in the fight for independence of South American provinces was preserved in its original form.

It is worth to note that the whole weight of the statue is supported only by the horse’s back legs – a remarkable technical achievement at that time. In 1936 Carlos León Thays (son of Charles) designed the esplanade surrounding the monument.

 Monument of General José de San Martin.

Allegorical Scenes

  • The first scene represents the moment of departure for war characterized by enthusiasm of soldier(s) full of hope for future victories and quick return home.
  • The second scene represents heroism and horrors of battlefields. Victory has a price….
  • The third one epitomizes the final triumph in the fight for the country. The Angel offering the bay-leaf wreath symbolizes the righteousness of the fight for the independence of the Motherland – here represented by the basket of food feeding soldiers.
  • The fourth scene illustrates the moment of coming back home – victorious but visibly exhausted soldier warmly welcomed by loved one.
  • The last scene in the front of the base symbolizes the triumphant God of War – Mars. His “muscular” leg over the wing of a condor is a sign of victory breaking the Spanish dominance. Broken-wing condor (representing Spanish colonizers) will never again freely fly over the vast areas of South-American countries.

Monument of General José de San Martin - Allegorical scenes from the independence war .... 

Enthusiasm and hopes

Horror and Glory of the war

the final triumph

Not many made it back home - those lucky got warm welcome

Triumphant God of War - Mars 

 Monument of General José de San Martin - Engraved plaques on the sides of the base illustrate the decisive moments from the Independence Wars.

This was the first stop during our walking tour around the Plaza San Martin and understandingly we started it from the monument of the South-American Hero - General Jose de San Martin.

In front of us are architectural "jewels" of this area - Palacio Anchorena, Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament, Kavanagh Building, English Tower and more....all accompanied by historical facts, legends, and of course many beautiful pictures.

To continue the Buenos Aires walking tour please select:
Plaza San Martin - Anchorena Palace   next (page 3)

If you enjoyed this visit, then please share your experience with friends :-)


Or taking your "own path" you can select the next steps proposed by the Free Buenos Aires City Tours Pictures by selecting one of the following pages:

Free Buenos Aires City Tours Pictures - Plaza de San Martin

To start the Buenos Aires Walking Tour from the overview of the of the Plaza San Martin, see maps, learn the history of this famous place, click on the left picture or select the following link:
San Martin Plaza Walking Tour    (page 1)

Free Buenos Aires Attractions Tours Pictures - Anchorena Palace

To read the story of the Anchorenas - once the wealthiest and most influential dynasty in Argentina, make the tour of their beautiful mansion next to the Plaza San Martin and see it all on the pictures, please click on the left photo or select the link:
Plaza San Martin - Anchorena Palace     (page 3)

Best of Buenos Aires - Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament

To visit the most beautiful church in Buenos Aires - the Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament, church intended to be a “Tabernacle” of the city, the place of prayer and reconciliation, an oasis of silence and peace please click on the left picture or select the link:
Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament  (page 4)

Best of Buenos Aires - Kavanagh Building

To learn the story behind the construction of the Kavanagh Building (love, betrayal and "sweet revenge" by red-hair Irish girl Corina), see the pictures of this engineering marvel from the beginning of the 20th century, please click the left picture or select the link:
Kavanagh Building   (page 5)

Best of Buenos Aires attractions - English Tower

To see the gift of British residents of Buenos Aires offered to the city for the celebration of the centenary of the Revolution of May let's walk towards the English Tower located across the street from the Plaza San Martin. Please click on the left picture of select the following link:
Best of Buenos Aires-English Tower (page 6)

Not sure yet where to go and what to see in Argentina? You may find help selecting: Tourist Destinations in Argentina

However if you are falling in love with Buenos Aires (I do not blame you, it happened to me) then please select: Buenos Aires Walking Tours

If you want to prepare yourself for vacation in Argentina then please select: --> Argentina Travel Tips

Warning: Policy change

Note: Due to frequent abuses, high-resolution versions of pictures posted on this site are not anymore available automatically. If needed, they can be procured (for free in justified cases and for small fees for commercial use) by contacting the site!

This policy will apply to all newly posted pages as well as to redesigned old pages!

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