José de San Martín is an Industrial Era Great General in Civilization VI. His unit provides +5 Combat Strength and +1 Movement to Industrial and Modern era land units within 2 tiles. He is introduced to replace Simón Bolívar, who becomes the leader of the Gran Colombian civilization in the Maya & Gran Colombia Pack.
José de San Martín, the “Liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru,” was the military leader of the patriot forces opposing the Spanish in the southern theater of the Latin American wars of independence: Argentina, Chile, and Peru. He began his military career fighting Napoleonic forces in Spain, but he was Argentine by birth, and when the South American colonies began their agitation for independence, San Martín returned home to fight for them. While it may seem strange that someone fighting for Spain would so quickly fight against Spain, the Spain that San Martín loved was one that was (more or less) democratically ruled; this was especially evident a few years after San Martín’s return, when Spanish King Ferdinand VII restored absolute monarchy and alienated Spaniards who sought a republican form of government. In Argentina, San Martín was named to the head of the Army of the North, fighting in Upper Peru and, after the Spanish reconquest of Chile, the Army of the Andes.
The Andes are sharp peaks, and, while the Inca were at home in the rugged terrain, a Western-style army with its cannons and horses was not. San Martín, however, was a master of logistics. He divided his troops into multiple columns so that they could cross the inhospitable terrain with a minimal impact, thus moving the largest army ever to cross the peaks. In battle, too, this practical mind served him well, as he captured Spanish guns and turned them on their owners in the Battle of Maipú, a struggle that established the independence of Chile. He moved onwards, exhorting indigenous populations in Peru to rise up against the Spanish as he went. After the fall of the Spanish viceroy in Peru, San Martín became the new Protector of Peru.
San Martín was always careful to secure the trust and loyalty of those that he was fighting for. He refused leadership titles in Chile, claiming that Chile needed a Chilean leader, and not an Argentine one, and he hesitated adopting overly liberal reforms in Peru, recognizing that region’s more conservative outlook. During the siege of Lima, in Peru, San Martín hesitated before invading the city, worried about the reception a foreign force might receive there. Further, he called for the emancipation of slaves (a move that one could see cynically – he needed able-bodied men to fight for him, not continue laboring in mines and on plantations). And finally, he stressed the fight for independence as an ideological one, a fight against absolutism, noting parallels between anti-royalist struggles going on in Spain at the same time as the wars in Latin America.
After the liberation of Peru, Bolívar and San Martín finally met in order to discuss future borders between Colombia and Peru. The meeting – the Guayaquil Conference – was private, but afterwards San Martín resigned his position as Protector and, eventually, left Latin America altogether. Here, one can possibly see parallels between San Martín’s departure and the eventual falling-out between the more ideologically-oriented, democratic Santander and the absolutist Bolívar.