Rivases una ciudad y municipio deNicaragua, fundada en el siglo XVIII con el nombre de la villa de la Purísima Concepción de Rivas de Nicaragua. Fue cabecera del partido de Rivas y actualmente delDepartamento de Rivas
H I S T O R Y
En Rivas tuvieron lugar célebres batallas de la guerra centroamericana contra los filibusteros deWilliam Walker.
En la primera batalla de Rivas, William Walker y fuerzas del bando democrático atacan la ciudad de Rivas el 29 de junio de 1855 y resultan derrotados por los fuerzas del bando legitimista. La refriega, que contó con nicaragüenses en ambos bandos, es recordada por la acción heroica del maestro nicaragüenseEnmanuel Mongalo y Rubioy el obrero Felipe Neri Fajardo quienes se ofrecieron como voluntarios para incendiar la casona de Don Máximo Espinoza, lugar donde estaban resguardados los filibusteros
En la segunda batalla de Rivas, que se efectuó el 11 de abril de1856, las fuerzas del ejército deCosta Rica, dirigidas personalmente por el PresidenteJuan Rafael Mora Porras, derrotaron a las de Walker, aunque con un elevado número de bajas. Posteriormente, el ejército costarricense, diezmado por la epidemia delcólera morbus, hubo de abandonar la ciudad, que fue ocupada nuevamente por los filibusteros.
La tercera batalla de Rivas, el 3 de marzo, 1857, fue un ataque de las fuerzas aliadas centroamericanas a la ciudad de Rivas, cuartel general de Walker, sin ningún resultado.
En la cuartabatalla de Rivas, que se efectuó el 11 de abril de1857, las fuerzas combinadas de los cinco países centroamericanos, dirigidas por el General costarricenseJosé Joaquín Mora Porras, intentaron apoderarse de la ciudad, donde se encontraban las tropas filibusteras, encabezadas personalmente por Walker. Después de cuatro horas de combate, las fuerzas centroamericanas tuvieron que retroceder con un gran número de bajas, ante el nutrido fuego de los filibusteros.
A pesar de que constituyó una victoria filibustera, la cuarta batalla de Rivas fue el último combate importante de lacampaña, ya que el 1° de mayo de 1857 Walker se rindió ante el capitán norteamericano Charles Davis, cuyo buqueSaint Mary'sse hallaba anclado enSan Juan del Sur. El General Mora aceptó la capitulación, y Walker abandonó el territorio centroamericano con todos los honores de la guerra.
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The First Battle of Rivas occurred on June 29, 1855 as part of the struggle to resistWilliam Walkeran American filibuster, adventurer, and soldier of fortune who arrived in Nicaragua with a small army of mercenaries in June 1855 in support of the democratic government of General Castellon in the Nicaraguan civil war. His army with local support was able to defeat the Legitimist party and conclude the Nicaraguan civil war.
Ships fromNew Yorkwould enter theSan Juan Riverfrom theAtlanticand sail acrossLake Nicaragua. People and goods would then be transported bystagecoachover a narrow strip of land near the city ofRivas, before reaching thePacific
At the time, a major trade route betweenNew York CityandSan Franciscoran through southern Nicaragua. Ships fromNew Yorkwould enter theSan Juan Riverfrom theAtlanticand sail acrossLake Nicaragua. People and goods would then be transported bystagecoachover a narrow strip of land near the city ofRivas, before reaching thePacificand being shipped toSan Francisco. The commercial exploitation of this route had been attained from a previous Nicaraguan administration toWall StreettycoonCornelius Vanderbilt's Accessory Transit Company. Garrison and Morgan had wrested control of the company from Vanderbilt and then supported Walker's expedition. Vanderbilt spread rumors that the company was issuing stock illegally in order to depress its value, allowing him to regain controlling interest.
In July 1856, Walker set himself up aspresidentof Nicaragua, after conducting a farcical election. As ruler of Nicaragua, Walker then revoked the Transit Company's charter, claiming that it had violated the agreement, and granted use of the route back to Garrison and Morgan. Outraged, Vanderbilt successfully pressured the U.S. government to withdraw its recognition of Walker's regime. Walker had also scared his neighbors and American and European investors with talk of further military conquests in Central America. Vanderbilt finance and train a military coalition of these states, led byCosta Rica, and worked to prevent men and supplies from reaching Walker. He also provided defectors from Walker's army with payments and free passage back to the U.S.
Realizing that his position was becoming precarious, he sought support from theSouthernersin the U.S. by recasting his campaign as a fight to spread the institution of blackslavery, which many American Southern businessmen saw as the basis of their agrarian economy. With this in mind, Walker revoked Nicaragua's emancipation edict of 1824.This move did increase Walker's popularity in the South and attracted the attention ofPierre Soulé, an influentialNew Orleanspolitician, who campaigned to raise support for Walker's war. Nevertheless, Walker's army, thinned by anepidemicofcholeraand massive defections, was no match for the Central American coalition and Vanderbilt's agents.
Costa Rican President Juan Rafael Mora watched with great interest as Walker consolidated his forces and power in Nicaragua. Fearing that Walker would become unbeatable and at the urging and backing of Vanderbilt's business empire Mora declared war, not on Nicaragua, but on Walker and his filibusters, on March 1, 1856. Having been talking about the filibusters for a while, Mora's (or Don Juanito as he was called) made this declaration in a famous speech that begins with the words, "Countrymen, take your weapons, the time that I've been warning you has arrived"(a paraphrase of the opening words of theMarseillaise).
Enraged Walker ordered the invasion of Costa Rica and a filibuster force crossed the border into Guanacaste, while the Costa Rican army moved down from the Central Valley in the same direction. With the army traveled the President but command was in the hands of his brothers Jose Joaquin Mora and his brother in law General Cañas.
Upon hearing that a small contingent of men were encamped near the city ofGuanacaste'sHacienda Santa RosaMora led three thousand of his men to attack. Walker's men were under the command of Colonel Louis Schlessinger, an inexperienced officer. On March 20, with no sentries posted, Mora’s Costa Ricans surprised and attacked the small group; Schlessinger himself ran away, leaving his troops vulnerable, disorganized, and without leadership.
SECOND BATTLE OF RIVAS 11 APRIL 1856
Walker alarmed by the defeat heard unfounded rumors that Mora's army was going to attack from the North. So he foolishly decided to abandon the key city of the Nicaragua at that time and meet the army from the north.Mora quickly slipped into Rivas with 3,000 men. Walker then, just four days after giving up the city, marched his men back into Rivas to try to take it back. His small force was able to score a number of victories through street to street fighting and were able to create a stalemate at a key building in town, El Mesón de Guerra, the Guerra family home, which was located in the corner of the park, covered the approach to Rivas church; from the towers of the church Walker's snipers enjoyed a wide firing range.
Juan Santamaría, (the only Costa Rican to have a national holiday declared in his honor), gained hismartyrdom, andPancha Carrascobecame Costa Rica's first woman soldier. Santamaría, adrummer boyfrom the town ofAlajuela, had volunteered for his country's impromptumilitia; his moment of glory came when the commanding officer asked for a volunteer to set fire to El Mesón de Guerra — the filibusters'stronghold. Santamaría, torch in hand, fulfilled his patriotic duty. He approached the hostel and tossed his torch onto the thatched roof. This caused the enemy to flee, even though Santamaria was cut down by sniper fire in the process.
Carrasco who was serving the militia as a cook and impromptu medic, filled her apron pockets with bullets, grabbed a discarded rifle and shamed some of the retreating Costa Ricans forestalling what might have become a rout.
Juan Alfaro Ruiz was responsible for clearing the filibusters from the church. He died of cholera after the battle. One of Alajuela's cantons was named after him.
It also produced a Nicaraguan hero,Enmanuel Mongalo.
Walker and his surviving soldiers fled to Granada during the night. Several factions inside the Costa Rican Army sought to pursue and kill Walker, thus ending the war. President Mora cancelled the plan, seeing his troops were already battle-worn. Mora wanted to use his resources to bury the dead and take care of the wounded and sick.
Although Costa Rica was victorious in the Battle of Rivas, the country could not enjoy the victory. Bodies from the fighting were dumped in the wells of the city causing a huge outbreak of cholera.
Thinking that the cholera was brought by the hot weather of the Nicaraguan lowlands, the troops wanted to go back home. The Costa Rican troops brought the disease home to Costa Rica with them where it ravaged the entire country, killing one tenth of the population.Mora was blamed for the cholera outbreak, the severe losses inflicted to the army and for the economic damage to the country because of the war debts. A coup was planned for his return to the capital but this was aborted.
The war against Walker will go on, joined now by the armies of other Central American countries under the overall command of General Mora. The Costarricans now focused on cutting the men and weapons flow to the filibusters cutting tne transit route.
However once the war was over, Mora was taken out of power in 1859 and executed in 1860 when he tried to come back to power along General Cañas.
The Battle of Rivas put great confidence to the Costa Rican Army in the fight against Walker, who before this battle believed himself undefeatable and unstoppable.
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