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Juan Zabala (or Zavala) of the Bridge (Lima, Peru, 1804 – Madrid, Spain, 1879).
Noble and military and political leader, of Peruvian origin, who held several noble titles, becoming I Marquis of Sierra Bullones, as well as VIII Marquis of San Lorenzo del Velleumbroso, III Marquis de la Puente and Sotomayor, V Marqués de Torreblanca and XI Count of Villaseñor, titles to which were added those obtained from their marriage, with María del Pilar de Guzmán and de la Cerda, also becoming Duke of Nájera, Marquis of Montealegre, Count of Oñate, Count of Paredes de Nava, Count of Treviño, Count de Castro Nuevo and Marqués de Aguilar de Campo.
During the emancipating wars of Latin American countries, he faced the realistic side with the independence troops of General San Martín. Once in Spain he had an important military involvement in the Carlist wars. With the birth of the Republic, he remained active in political life, becoming Minister of the Navy and even President of the Council of Ministers of Spain.
Juan Zabala de la Puente was born in 1804, in Lima, Peru, when this Latin American country was still under the power of the Spanish Crown. He was the son of the Peruvian and realistic VII Marquis of San Lorenzo del Pedro José de Zavala and Bravo del Ribero and his wife Grimanesa de la Puente and Bravo de Lagunas, a Limean lady who was also invested with the titles of II Marquesa de la Puente and Sotomayor , IV Marquise of Torreblanca and V Countess of Villaseñor. Little is known of his childhood.
The biographical data of this Spanish military depart from his first martial merits, obtained in Peru, where he fought on the side of the royalist troops against the independence army, commanded by General San Martín. Once the Independence of Peru was achieved, in 1825, he and almost his entire family moved to Spain.
Since his arrival on the Peninsula, Juan Zabala de la Puente began his military career, participating in the first war fight between Princess Elizabeth II and his suitor Don Carlos, historically known as First Carlist War (1833-1839), during which John Zabala de la Puente took sides of the Elizabethan side.
He fought in the North Army troops, serving as a field assistant to Generals Espartero and Valdés. In the course of the conflict, he fought in the battles of Bermeo and Miravalles, as well as that of Villano, which occurred in 1835, when he was seriously wounded. However, after recovering, he returned to the front line, taking part in the battle that led to the liberation of Bilbao.
He also fought in the battles of Orduña, Barbastro, Gray, Aranzueque and Peñacerrada, where his outstanding participation made him worthy of the rank of brigadier, with which he remained for a short time, being quickly ascended, becoming in a short period to be invested as Lieutenant General.
He was also commissioned – by Baldomero Espartero – to prepare the Oñate Convention, which ended the war, once signed by the Carlist general Rafael Maroto and the Duke of Victory. Likewise, his performance earned him the appointment of The Lancers Of the Royal Guard. In 1849 he was placed in command of one of the divisions, sent to Italy, with the mission of protecting The Pontiff Pius IX.
He was also placed in command of the Second Army Corps, when he departed for the African continent, in order to fight in the African War, which took place during a year from 1859 to 1860.
During this war, Juan Zabala de la Puente had a brilliant participation, distinguishing himself especially in the Battle of Sierra Bullones, where he won. His performance in this war earned him several accolades. In this sense, he received the personal congratulations of the Spanish President O’Donnell for his performance in the Battle of Castillejos, as well as the title of Marquis de Sierra Bullones and the award gran Laureada de San Fernando.
After the war, he became a Senator, by the Liberal Union party, ruled by O’Donnell. In 1860 he was appointed by this President as Minister of the Navy, a position he held until 1863. At the same time he served as General Director of Cavalry and Chairman of the Higher Board of War Consultative.
Two years later, in 1865, he was reappointed Minister of the Navy, exercising this figure until 10 July the following year.
Eight years later, in 1873, he decided to depart from political life following the birth of the First Spanish Republic, which occurred on February 11, 1873. A situation that lasted only one year, when he rejoined to serve as Inspector of Artillery, answering the call of President Sagasta.
That same year, 1874, President Serrano assigned him the position of President of the Council of Ministers, retaining for him the Presidency of the Executive Branch.
Juan Zabala de la Puente then assumed on February 26, 1874 the mission of forming a government, while he maintained the position of Minister of War and began to try to organize a country that was in the midst of a civil war, with the disorganized army and an ec crisis galloping, no financial resources.
On 13 May 1871 he reformed his cabinet. However, he was unable to initiate the planned reforms, and was forced to resign from his post on 3 September. He died five years later, in 1879, in Spain. He was married to María del Pilar de Guzmán y de la Cerda, with whom he had five children.
Image source: biografiasyvidas.com
August 6, 2019