The so-called “Vuelta de Obligado” was a battle that took place on November 20, 1845, when Don Juan Manuel de Rosas, governor of Buenos Aires and in charge of Foreign Relations of the Argentine Confederation, was serving his second term. It occurred on the waters of the Paraná River, on its right bank, in a bend or curve that bears the name of the “Vuelta de Obligado”. In those years the international political situation was complicated and even more so in the Río de la Plata. The most powerful countries in the world once again undertook colonialist adventures, tarnishing the sovereignty of the nascent states. In mid-November of that year, just under one hundred merchant ships entered the Paraná River, accompanied by a well-equipped Anglo-French fleet, with the purpose of achieving commercial advantages in the coastal areas and Paraguay, and obtaining free transit through the rivers. interior of the basin. Rosas immediately prepared the defense, entrusting it to his own brother-in-law, General Lucio Mansilla. The main theater of war was filled with a group of brave soldiers, who were located on both banks of the river, waiting for the enemy. Unforgettable characters, unknown to great history, acted in this army. There is Pascual Echagüe, whose mission was to “measure” the troops, that is, monitor and count them; “El gaucho Rivero” also participated, that Creole who fought in our Malvinas Islands.
It was in the Obligado ravines where artillery batteries were installed and thick chains supported by barges were stretched across the river to stop the passage of boats. The combat began in the morning, lasting several hours. Manuel Gálvez says that this “episode constitutes one of the most beautiful and heroic events in our History.” The enemy’s superiority was manifest, which caused numerous casualties in our troops, but even so the fight continued until the ammunition was exhausted. The intruding squadrons managed to advance, arriving at ports in Corrientes and Paraguay. However, the military defense of them was tremendous. Finally the invaders gave up their enterprise, and the policy of the Argentine Confederation largely triumphed, applauded by men like General José de San Martín. Due to this heroic event, “National Sovereignty Day” was established on November 20.
Bibliography consulted: Crónica Historia Argentina, Buenos Aires, Codex, 1969, Volume 3. Gálvez Manuel, Life of Juan Manuel de Rosas. Buenos Aires, Trotta, 1978.
By Prof. Edmundo Jorge Delgado
Master in History
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