Manuel Belgrano

A brief biography.

Manuel - José Joaquín del Corazón de Jesús - Belgrano was born in Buenos Aires on June 3, 1770, into a wealthy and prominent criollo (Creole) family. He studied in Spain at the University of Salamanca in 1786 and at Valladolid, where he graduated with a degree in law in 1793. During his residence in Spain he studied languages and economics and acquainted himself with the ideas of enlightened French and Spanish authors. As advocate he took his oath on the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary and received the Cross of the University with the medal of the Virgin and the blue-white bands (1792). 
When Charles IV named Belgrano secretary of the newly organized Consulado of Buenos Aires in 1793, he enthusiastically accepted. While on the Consulado he petitioned for certain reforms: he urged opening new educational institutes and called for legislation to foster development of agriculture, commerce, trade, and communications. In 1799 he organized the Academia de Náutica.
In 1802 he was a member of the fraternity of the Virgin, Immaculate Conception  founded in the priory of the Franciscans in Buenos Aires by Charles V.
                                               Argentina 1935, Mi 398, Sc 418

He received his first military experience during the unsuccessful        
British invasion of the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata in 1806-07.

Virgin of Luján, Patroness of Argentina.
Argentina 1960, Mi 753, Sc 722.

When Río de la Plata broke with Spain in 1810, Belgrano became a member of its ruling junta that tried to maintain its territorial integrity. Belgrano became general and marched with his troops to Luján, and dedicated them to the Virgin Mary of Luján in 1811.
After outlying portions of the country were lost, Belgrano was sent with a small army to bring what is now Paraguay under the authority of the junta but was unsuccessful.

In 1812 he defeated pro-Spanish forces at Tucumán and hoisted the blue-white-blue flag on the artillery position in Rosario. The soldiers attributed  the victory of Salta (20 February 1813) to the Virgin of Luján. The Republicans required that Belgrano all the prisoners of war killed, but he refused.

      Victory of Rosario, 1813. Creation of the Argentine Flag.
                                       Argentina 1920, Mi 293, Sc 281.


He was superseded in 1814 by
José de San Martín as commander
of the army. Belgrano was sent (banished?) with  Bernardino Rivadavia to Europe to inquire the organisation of a monarchical type of government of Rio de la Plata. Returned in 1816 he participate in the meeting of Tucumán, where the independence of
Argentina was proclaimed on 9 July 1816. Belgrano's flag, - blue-white-blue -, became the national flag.

Declaration of Independence, Tucumán, 9 July 1816. Argentina 1916, Mi 191, Sc 120.

    In Tucumán was also the Dominican Justo de Santa María de Oro  
    (1771-19.10.1836), delegate of San Juan de la Frontera. On his  
    proposal the Congress declared Santa Rosa (de Lima) as Patroness
    of Argentina.
Justo de Santa Maria, patriot, first Argentine Bishop.
    Argentina 1974, Mi 1169, Sc 1018.


Belgrano, friend of the Dominicans, died 20 June 1820 and was buried
in the church of the Dominican priory in Buenos Aires.
He was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic.
Belgrano's mausoleum on the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires.
Argentina 1920, Mi 242, Sc 280.

His memory-day, - 20 June -  is named 'Dia de la Bandera'.



General Manuel Belgrano is many times honoured with stamps with his portrait. We gave here some of them.

Belgrano by Jean Gericault. Argentina 1970, Mi 1057, Sc 918.




                                                          The creation of the Flag. Bas-relief by José Fioravanti.
                                                    Argentina 1970, Mi 1058, Sc 919.

             A monument to Manuel
             Belgrano by Hector Rocha
             in Buenos Aires.
             Argentina 1961, Mi 780, Sc 730.  


Manuel Belgrano and Patriot José Artigas. Argentina 1967, Mi Bl 18, Sc 839.     
Idem with Patriot Juan Jos. Castelli. Argentina 1960, Mi 728, Sc c76b.

  Some Bases in the Antartica are named after General Belgrano.

Base Genral Belgrano in Antartica.
Cover with the name of the base, also in the postmark.

Argenina 1958, Mi 679, Sc 673. Postmark 01.01.1959

                  General Belgrano Base, Antartica.
                    Argentina 1965, Mi 816, Sc 169.

       General Belgrano Base, Antartica.  Argentina 1986, Mi 1801, Sc 1559d.

A bridge, many ships, and a habour are named after Manuel Belgrano.


    General Belgrano Bridge, Chaco-Corrientes.       
    Argentina 1974, Mi 1199, Sc 1025.

    Brigantine Belgrano by Emilio Biggeri.  
   Argentina 1974, Mi 1190, Sc 1026.



Cruiser General Belgrano. Argentina 1992, Mi 2125, Sc 1768.     

In the Falklands Islands War the British atomic submarine H.M.S. Conqueror sighted in the afternoon of the 1st May 1982 the cruiser General Belgrano, a World War 2 US-built warship lacking sonar, and its escort of two Exocet-equipped destroyers, which were a pre-eminent threat to the task force. The 2nd of May saw the British War Cabinet clear the Conqueror to remove the Belgrano from the theatre. H.M.S. Conqueror fired a pattern of torpedoes from around 2,000 yards and scored two hits.
The Argentine cruiser sank rapidly thereafter; 
321 men of the crew of 1093 were killed.
Although Belgrano's escort did try to sink the Conqueror with depth-charges they were unsuccessful. The loss of one of its most prestigious units probably cause
d the Argentine Navy to recall its other units, including their only aircraft carrier, the Veinticinco de Mayo to port.

The Argentinian Marine named the Naval Base 'Puerto Belgrano' (1896-1996).  

Argentina 1996, Mi 2318, Sc 1944.


The cruiser 'General Belgrano'.                    On order.

Argentina 2007, Mi 3114, Sc

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