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José Ramón Rodil, 1st Marquess of Rodil

The Marquess of Rodil
Prime Minister of Spain
In office
June 17, 1842 – May 9, 1843
Preceded byAntonio González y González
Succeeded byJoaquín María López
Minister of War of Spain
In office
April 27, 1836 – May 15, 1836
Preceded byIldefonso Díez de Rivera
Succeeded byAntonio Seoane
In office
August 20, 1836 – November 26, 1836
Preceded byAndrés García Camba
Succeeded byJavier Rodríguez
In office
June 17, 1842 – May 9, 1843
Preceded byEvaristo Fernández de San Miguel
Succeeded byFrancisco Serrano
Personal details
Born(1789-02-05)February 5, 1789
Santa María de Trovo, Spain
DiedFebruary 20, 1853(1853-02-20) (aged 64)
Madrid, Spain
Political partyProgressive Party
Alma materMondoñedo Seminary
University of Santiago de Compostela
Military service
Allegiance Spain
RankCaptain general
UnitLiterary Battalion
Battles/warsSpanish War of Independence

Spanish American wars of independence

First Carlist War

Don José Ramón Rodil y Campillo, 1st Marquess of Rodil and 3rd Viscount of Trobo (February 5, 1789 in Santa María de Trobo, – February 20, 1853 in Madrid) was a Spanish Liberal general and statesman. Originally a law student at the University of Santiago de Compostela, he enlisted in the Spanish army and went to Peru in 1817 as one of the commissioned officers in the fight against the pro-independence nationalist forces. He also served as Prime Minister of Spain from 17 June 1842 to 9 May 1843.

He led the Carabineros Corps, established by a royal decree issued by King Fernando VII in 1829 at the time that Luis López Ballesteros was Minister of Finance.[1]

Early life

Rodil was born on 5 February 1789 in Santa María de Trobo, near Lugo in Galicia.[2] His early studies were at the Mondoñedo Seminary, later studying at the University of Santiago de Compostela. Following the outbreak of the Peninsular War however, he enlisted in the Literary Battalion. On October 1816, he was sent to South America to fight against the "insurrectionists", where he served under Viceroy Joaquín de la Pezuela who ordered him Military Governor of Huamanga and then Lima.[2]

Last Stand in Callao

In 1824, Rodil assumed command of the last Spanish stronghold on Peruvian territory in the port of Callao. Shortly after the last evacuation of Lima by the Royalist Army troops, the pro-independence soldiers finally took the capital, with Bolívar's arrival causing a massive exodus to Callao of those who maintained their loyalty to the Spanish crown, either by sincere conviction, for the defense of their interests, or for subsequent lawsuits with the leaders of the young independent Peru, with various Spaniards, Creoles, and mestizos fleeing as refugees. Now besieged by nationalist forces backed by Simón Bolívar, Rodil refused to surrender, even as scurvy and starvation wreaked havoc among the hundreds of loyalists living in the fort. Even his top lieutenants began turning against him, only for Rodil to execute them by firing squad. He even executed his chaplain, Pedro Marieluz, for not revealing to him the details of the confessions made by those sentenced to death.

Callao was soon populated by more than 8,000 refugees, half of them royalist fighters led by Rodil.[3] Despite being informed in January 1825 about the capitulation at Ayacucho and its terms, this Spanish chief rejected the surrender proposal and insisted on defending Callao, hoping at some point to receive military reinforcements from Spain that never arrived.

The Patriots, despairing at the resistance of the Spaniards, threatened reprisals against the defenders of Callao but were countermanded by Bolívar: "Heroism does not merit punishment. How we would applaud Rodil if he were a patriot!".[4] Nevertheless, in the long run, resistance proved futile; two of Rodil's trusted comrades who commanded other forts nearby, and their forces, jumped to the nationalist side, thus revealing Rodil's potential defensive plans. The siege came to an end with the inability of the besieged to continue, with many of them dying as a result of the conditions in the port, themselves the result of a lack of resources and hygiene. On January 22, 1826, Rodil surrendered to Venezuelan general Bartolomé Salom and was allowed to go back to Spain, which he did, accompanied by a hundred Spanish officers and soldiers who had served under him.[2]

Return to Spain and later life

Back in Spain, Rodil was more respected than his other Army colleagues, such as José de la Serna and José de Canterac, who had been defeated in the earlier Battle of Ayacucho. After Ferdinand VII's death, he supported Isabella II in the civil war against the Carlists.[2] He later was viceroy of Navarra, which wasn't yet fully incorporated in the Spanish kingdom, and was President of the Government of Spain in 1842. He had a personal rivalry with Baldomero Espartero, Count of Luchana, who had attempted to divest him of his military honors. Rodil then retired from Spanish politics, and died at age 64 on February 19, 1853.[2]


  1. ^ Real decreto de organización del Cuerpo de Carabineros del Reino) 9 de diciembre 1842 Gaceta de Madrid nº2985
  2. ^ a b c d e "José Ramón Rodil y Galloso". Real Academia de la Historia.
  3. ^ Mercado, 2011: 83
  4. ^ de Unamuno, Miguel (2015). Selected Works of Miguel de Unamuno, Volume 3: Our Lord Don Quixote. Princeton University Press. p. 396. ISBN 978-1400871537.
Political offices Preceded byAntonio González y González Prime Minister of Spain 1842–1843 Succeeded byJoaquín María López
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José Ramón Rodil, 1st Marquess of Rodil
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